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Ruling on Karoo fracking a victory for environment, says action group

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the ministers of Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs do not have the authority to implement the regulations for petroleum exploration and production, which includes shale gas exploration.

FILE: A small child takes part in an anti-fracking protest outside Parliament on 22 September 2012. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Plans to roll out hydraulic fracturing or fracking, as it's more commonly known, in the Karoo have been halted.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of an application brought by AfriForum and the Treasure the Karoo Action group on Thursday.

The court ruled that the ministers of Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs do not have the authority to implement the regulations for petroleum exploration and production, which includes shale gas exploration.

Fracking is the process whereby a liquid is injected at high pressure into rocks below the earth's surface forcing open crevices to extract gas or oil.

AfriForum’s Mornè Mostert said that the entire process of drafting regulations would now have to start from scratch.

"We need to ensure that South Africa is sustainable. We believe, at this stage, neither the Environmental Affairs Department nor the DMR have the correct facilities to ensure that the environment is protected."

The Treasure Karoo Action Group's CEO Jonathan Deal said the court ruling was a victory for the environment as well as the people living in the area.

"The Department of Mineral Resources has to go right back to the beginning and draft an appropriate set of regulations, taking into account all of the scientific measures and issues that we have pointed out to them, which were ignored literally, by the first set of regulations."

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