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French National Assembly bans hydraulic fracturing

The French National Assembly has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, the Financial Times reported May 11. If the country's Senate approves the ban next month, France will be the first country to ban the drilling technique by which water, chemicals and sand are pumped into underground rock formations, fracturing them to reach otherwise inaccessible natural gas and oil. Environmentalists contend the process threatens to contaminate the water supply and, according to the Times, expressed outrage earlier this year when exploration permits were granted without public comment. A Duke University study published this week found no evidence fracking chemicals were polluting water supplies, though evidence suggested gas was leaking from wells into drinking water, the paper reports.

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