According to Greenpeace, some 20 activists crossed the barriers at the exploratory site in the northern Jutland municipality of Dybvad on Monday morning. Four of the protestors climbed to the top of French gas company Total’s 45-metre tall boring machine, while others remained on the ground armed with banners and t-shirts that read “Stop Fracking”.
Total was granted approval to explore for shale gas in June despite strong protests from the local community and concerns from organizations including Greenpeace and the Danish Society of Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening - DN).
The Frederikshavn City Council approved the exploration and if shale gas is found on the property, the company will then explore the possibility of extracting the shale gas through fracking, the pumping of pressurized, chemical-laden water into underground rock layers.
Greenpeace said in a press release that its activists were representing the concerns of the community.
“There is a local concern among the population of northern Jutland but also a strong and stubborn fighting spirit to stop the thick-headed plan to have Denmark be a testing ground for Total’s gamble with drinking water and nature,” Greenpeace activist Helene Hansen said.
“Total’s plan to pump chemicals into the Danish underground can pollute something that we should otherwise be very proud of: our clean groundwater that can be tapped directly and unfiltered through the faucet. We should fight to save it,” Hansen added.
Greenpeace points out that Total, which is the fifth largest international energy company, is banned from fracking in its home country of France, which outlawed the practice in 2011. Fracking is also banned in Scotland, Bulgaria and in the US states of New York and Maryland as well as numerous US cities. Legislators in Germany are currently considering the country’s first law on fracking.
In conjunction with its protest action, Greenpeace has also launched an online campaign against Total’s fracking in Denmark.
Some of the Greenpeace activists scaled the derrick at the Total exploration site. Photo: Greenpeace