Bulgaria's parliamentary energy committee discussed on Monday three proposals for the introduction of a moratorium on shale gas exploration and extraction, following protests in 12 Bulgarian cities over the weekend.
The draft bills were sponsored by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the ultra-nationalist Ataka party and the Order, Lawfulness and Justice party, state-run Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) said.
After a discussion that lasted for more than four hours, the committee settled on a draft that envisages the introduction of a temporary ban which will remain in force until Parliament passes amendments to the existing legislation requiring companies that wish to explore and an extract shale gas to first conduct an environmental impact assessment study, Capital Daily reported. Violations would carry a fine of 100 million levs.
The MPs are expected to vote on the bill later this week.
"When talking about such large-scale actions as total bans and shale counter-revolutions, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and forever prevent Bulgaria from benefitting from its own wealth," the state-run Bulgarian National Radio quoted economy minister Traicho Traikov as saying.