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.
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.