by S. Tom Bond
A Reuters article tells of the response in Romania to Chevron’s attempt to drill horizontal shale wells there. Pungesti, Romania, 150 miles from the Black Sea, and 210 miles from the capitol, Bucharest, is the site of a continuing battle between locals and Chevron. For the second time in two months, locals have broken through a heavy anti-personnel fence to stop work.
Thousands of people have rallied in recent months against shale drilling, commonly known as fracking. Chevron has government support, of course. The protest is also against a massive strip mining for gold in the nearby Carpathian mountains. (Note: Gold mining requires cyanide extraction on a very large scale.)
The Reuters article says that about 300 demonstrators, mostly local folk, were not contained by a similar number of riot police. Dozens were detained by police. Chevron claimed there was some damage to equipment. The company said “Chevron can today confirm it has suspended activities … as a result of unsafe conditions generated by unlawful and violent protester activities,” and all the other claims we have come to expect from the fracking companies, amounting to “we don’t hurt anyone by our operations.”
If you are interested in more detail, read here for the activist’s side, an article out of New Brunswick, Canada. A fairly neutral “big press” article is here. Wikipedia is getting up an article on the events there with a good picture of the people involved and the fence. More information and good photos in this CNN iReport.
From further reading, it appears that Chevron is now back at work. The area of the well, and a large area around it are in a state of lock-down. People can’t go to work, children can’t go to school, and the press is kept far away from the site. 1000 riot police are employed, as well as Chevron-hired guards.
The Romanian Revolution, changing it from the “most Stalinist police state in the Eastern Block” occurred only 24 years ago, well within memory of the older people.