Protests work, even against TPP, TAFTA, and EU demands for U.S. methane exports after Ukraine

European leaders and the U.S. president are aware of opposition to fracking, even in Europe.

Robin Emmott and Jan Strupczewski wrote for Reuters 26 March 2014, Obama tells EU to do more to cut reliance on Russian gas,

U.S. President Barack Obama told the European Union on Wednesday it cannot rely on the United States alone to reduce its dependency on Russian energy, as relations with Moscow chill over its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

There is some bad news:

Speaking on a visit to Brussels to discuss trade relations and the Ukraine crisis, Obama said concluding a new transatlantic trade pact, now under negotiation, would make it easier for Washington to license more gas exports.

They have already stepped up efforts to reduce reliance on Russia but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported asking Obama to relax restrictions on exports of U.S. gas.

“Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licences for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama told a news conference after meeting EU leaders, adding that it could not happen overnight.

He was apparently refering to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), also known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA), which is the Atlantic version of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that the U.S. House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, chaired by Ted Poe (R TX-02) is pushing. Poe’s district is in Houston, home town of Spectra Energy.

But there is some good news:

During a 65-minute lunch, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pressed Obama to step up U.S. gas exports, but he responded bluntly in telling the Europeans they needed to take politically difficult steps to develop their own resources.

EU ambassador to Washington Jose Vale de Almeida quoted Obama as telling them: “You cannot just rely on other people’s energy, even if it has some costs, some downside,” in a clear reference to opposition in parts of the EU on environmental grounds to nuclear power and the extraction of shale gas.

Government leaders may pretend they’re not listening when people protest fracking and pipelines, but they are.


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