Birds of Prey Delay Polish Fracking Boom

By Bloomberg - 2013-02-11T12:04:29Z

Photograph by Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg

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Energy Independence

Poland's path to energy independence through shale gas is being delayed by skylarks, red kites and local farmers hesitant to grant access to their land.

The nation is sitting on the European Union's biggest reserves of the fuel, enough to last at least 50 years and free it from dependence on Russia, according to the Polish Geological Institute. Exploiting the deposits will require the government to allay the concerns of the Kashubian ethnic minority, farmers, environmentalists and the tourism industry that hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that ma"de the U.S. the world's biggest producer, will pollute their water.

Poland imports about two-thirds of its gas from Russia's OAO Gazprom, and plans to double domestic production by 2019 to improve its negotiating position before talks start on renewing a long-term contract that ends in 2022.