Inter alia, the MEP (Member of European Parliament) vote is to extend the EU Directive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirement to the activities of exploration and hydraulic fracturing extraction for non-conventional hydrocarbons.
Here is the European Parliament press release on the matter.
Per the press release – “Current legislation covers natural gas projects that extract at least 500,000 cubic metres each day. Many shale gas projects yield less, due to the rock fracturing process, and hence are not subject to an impact assessment requirement. MEPs want this requirement to be mandatory, whatever the quantity extracted, for all exploration and exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons (shale gas and oil, coal gas, etc.), including shale gas projects, for the phase in which the hydraulic fracturing technique is used.”
The EU has been conducting a public consultation exercise on shale gas exploration. The results are here.
Here is the European Commission’s Energy and Environment webpage which gives background.
This MEP vote is one stage in the EU law-making process. There are further stages.