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Friday, February 17, 2012

We're Going Global

Dear anti-fracking activists,

We are the Bulgarian anti-shale gas civil society organization "Citizens' Initiative against the exploration and extraction of shale gas through the method of hydraulic fracturing". As you might be aware, Bulgaria has fallen into the list of prospective shale-gas rich countries in Europe and has drawn a swarm of energy corporations, eager to secure permits to explore and produce shalegas through hydrofracking.

So far the Bulgarian people have been remarkably active, well organized and vocal in making it obvious to the politicians and the energy companies that we would not tolerate the environmental and health risks that hydrofracking involves. After months of dogged determination, organizing numerous protests, a petition and having our representatives participate in debates in the media and in (generally hostile) parliamentary committees, the moratorium on using hydraulic fracturing was finally secured by the Bulgarian National Parliament.

Unfortunately, this moratorium is hanging by a thread. Since it was passed, the energy lobbies have intensified their actions through besetting television and radio channels, as well as the press, convincing people in the economic benefits shale gas exploration and production may have for Bulgaria and slandering anti-shale gas activists.

The oil and gas lobbies have upped their act not only in Bulgaria. At the moment they are fighting a planned US act which would force them to reveal the amount of money they pay local governments for local drilling permissions around the world. Also, they are pushing for institutionalization of unconventional gas "good practices" which would legitimize the use of hydrofracking and the risks related to it.

Taking into consideration the increased pressure from energy corporations and the common challenges that all anti-shale gas organizations around the globe share, we decided to call for contact, cooperation and synchronized action as many relevant organizations in the world as possible, in order to achieve a higher impact in our local actions.

There is a planned meeting on unconventional gas in Poland on 7 March,which will see together all the major gas "players".This would be a great opportunity to raise international awareness of the problem by organising simultaneous protests in all countries, regions and communities with anti-fracking groups on the same day,which could be the weekend following the meeting.

We have just under a month to organise this global demonstration which is an adequate amount of time. The benefits of such synchronised action will be not only that we would raise the curtain over the plans and methods of the energy lobbies, but we would also show that the grass-roots opposition to hydro-fracking is not only hard to ignore, but hard to fight with, too.

We sincerely hope that you would agree with us on the need to cooperate and coordinate our actions and organise a global event against hydrofracking. If you do, please send us a message to confirm your wish for further communication with us and with a future "global" group. We would appreciate it if you respond by 22 March. Any other ideas you might have for future common action and any contacts with civil organization or community groups that fight hydrofracturing are also very welcome.

You can contact us at frackingfreebulgaria@googlegroups.com  and frackingfreebulgaria@gmail.com

Best regards,

On behalf of the Citizens' Initiative against the exploration and extraction of shale gas through the method of hydraulic fracturing

 Anna Pelova
 Iskra Nikolova
 Borislav Sabev
 Borislav Sandov
 Galin Mihalev
 Stefan Grigorov
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