Earlier today, in an unanimous vote and supported by a strong social movement, lawmakers in Spain’s northern Cantabria region voted to ban hydraulic fracturing on environmental concerns about risks to drinking water. A coalition of Spain’s three parties led by the majority ruling People’s Party joined forces to pass the ban. While the People’s Party in Cantabria favors the complete ban of hydraulic fracturing in the region, due to local citizens’ concerns, on the national level this party supports hydraulic fracturing, believing that the development of shale gas would transform Spain’s economy at a time when the country is struggling with a burgeoning debt, a deep rescission, and high unemployment. Spain also imports 76% of its energy needs The People’s Party could seek to appeal or overturn Cantabria’s ban at the Spanish Parliament level. Early estimates indicate that Spain has large shale gas reserves (1.4 trillion cubic meters), enough to cover the demand from the European Union for about three years.

This post was prepared by Barclay Nicholson (bnicholson@fulbright.com or 713 651 3662) from Fulbright’s Energy Practice.