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Fontainebleau Oil Drilling Plans Opposed

© Nick Brown

A proposal by Bridgeoil to extend their drilling platform via the construction of ten wells at a site located 4km from the French bouldering hub of the Fontainebleau forest is attracting opposition from climbers and environmentalists online. A petition launched by the association Environnement Bocage Gâtinais (EBG) outlining the potential environmental impact of the project has attracted over 67,000 signatures to date.

Plans to expand oil drilling platforms 4km from the Fontainebleau forest have drawn criticism from climbers.  © Nick Brown
Plans to expand oil drilling platforms 4km from the Fontainebleau forest have drawn criticism from climbers.
© Nick Brown

The EBG and its supporters wrote in the petition and on their website, 'because of all the risks it represents and in the name of our commitment towards [the] climate, we are opposed to the expansion of oil drilling, in particular that of Bridgeoil.'

According to the EBG, the proposal would lead to a four-fold increase in toxic gas emissions (sulphur dioxode) in the town of Nonville to the south of the Fontainebleau forest, where the firm already operate two drilling sites.

The proposed zone also overlaps with protected 'Natura 2000' areas, sensitive ecological landscapes and forests, in addition to a water table that supplies over 300,000 inhabitants of Paris and Villemer. In 2019, the local water board Eau de Paris rejected similar plans from Bridgeoil to expand in the same location.

Bridgeoil's request for a work application is subject to a public inquiry that has taken place between September 19 and October 19 2020 (today).

Climbers have been vocal in their opposition of the plans on social media by sharing the petition and voicing their concerns in connection to the Fontainebleau forest, which has held UNESCO Biosphere reserve status since 1988. Fontainebleau bouldering website bleausard.com outlined in a post on their website that Bridgeoil estimates the risk of impact on groundwater to be "medium to low."

'Saying yes to this new extension would therefore be tantamount to opening our doors to a potential ecological and sanitary disaster,' the site editor commented.


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19 Oct

But climbers are very happy to burn oil to get to Font for some bouldering!

20 Oct
20 Oct

With Shoes, Bouldering pads and clothes all made from Oil derivatives ... While objecting online with Plastic phones and Laptops ..

21 Oct

Good hot takes people.

First, let me admit that I use some oil and oil derivatives in my daily life. Shocking I know. However I am also able to object to the creation of these new oil wells. "How can he perform such mental gymnastics?" I hear you cry. Well as always, the devil is in the details (and in the article). It's not all oil wells that I am opposed to but these particular ones; in ecologically sensitive areas, that risk contaminating groundwater.

There's a broader debate to be had on the merits of individual action vs government regulation to minimise C02 emissions. And another on whether we should be investing any money in opening new oil wells rather than investing in renewables. And I'm happy to give my opinion on those if anyone is interested. But the fact that our society is built on fossil fuel use shouldn't prevent us from asking if that's the direction we want to continue in.

21 Oct

I wasn't doing a hot take. We burn oil un-necessarily to do our hobby and then complain when it is pumped out of the ground to meet the demand we have helped create. Just because the pumping is going to take place near an area where we like to do our hobby. I too want a future where we use renewables more but the reality is that we are all burning oil when we don't strictly have to, and complaining when we see it being produced.

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