The Scottish Parliament voted to ban fracking countrywide on Wednesday, making a moratorium on the controversial technique a permanent affair.
The narrow vote can after the legislative body temporary outlawed fracking in January 2015 while it conducted a public health impact assessment and consulted environmental experts.
The Scottish Greens, the Liberal Democrats, and the Labour Party joined together to hand a 32-29 defeat to the Conservatives, who vehemently opposed the permanent measure, The Guardian reported. Related: Clinton Campaign Pledges to Raise Fed Royalties for Oil Companies
Legislators affiliated with the Scottish National Party chose to abstain from the vote, which prompted its fellow liberal parties to call on the group's leaders to clarify its position on fracking and its energy platform.
The Scottish National Party’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said he and his government remained “deeply skeptical” on the merits of fracking and confirmed that the practice would not be allowed in Scotland until there is clear evidence that it does not cause health-related or environmental harm.
Maurice Golden, a newly elected member of parliament for the Conservative party, argued in favor of fracking, and said the “leftwing cabal” of the three united liberal parties had been “ignoring” scientific evidence regarding the practice, which, if allowed, would add jobs and boost the economy.
The Scottish vote comes right after local leaders in the North Yorkshire region of the United Kingdom approved industrial tests that would allow fracking in the country for the first time in more than five years. Related: Cash Deprived Venezuela Can’t Pay For Oil Imports, Leaving Tankers Stranded
The Guardian reported that the go-ahead “swept aside” vocal protests from residents and environmentalists who feared “catastrophic seismic activity, health problems, and pollution” if hydraulic fracturing was introduced.
Two other high-profile applications to frack in the Lancashire area have been rejected by councilors since late-2011, but the companies have lodged appeals to reverse the decisions.
The UK remains one of the few European countries that has not banned fracking on a national level. Hydraulic fracturing has been seen by many as a means of decreasing the dependence on Russian natural gas deliveries. The contrary seemed to have taken place however as Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller said on June 1 that natural gas exports to the U.K. have increased by 91,5 percent to 3.85 billion cubic meters in the first five months of the year.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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