European Parliament vote on fuels favors Estonia

A promotional photo of the Auvere shale oil plant Courtesy of Eesti Energia
12/18/2014 9:00 AM
Category: Environment

The European Parliament rejected an attempt to shoot down the European Commission Fuel Quality Directive, which treats all fuels equal, regardless of the source of the fuel, despite environmental activists saying fuel produced from shale oil is environmentally more harmful.

Although Estonia does not produce road vehicle fuels from shale oil, plans have been drawn up by both state-owned Eesti Energia and Viru Keemia Grupp to construct shale oil refineries. Rejection of the directive would have cast a shadow on the future of shale oil part of the Estonian oil shale rock industry.

The vote was not as close as Estonian politicians and oil shale industry leaders feared, with 337 MEPs voting to reject the directive and 325 supporting it. A rejection would have needed a two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

Estonian MEPs played their part, with Marju Lauristin, part of the social democrat faction, saying her faction was up late night before, discussing directives, including the Fuel Quality Directive. “I did all I could, to sway people. I have not been in such an emotional state for a while,” she said.

Yana Toom, part of the liberal faction, said all Estonian MEPs did their part. “We talked to colleagues, spammed people. Looks like our efforts bore fruit.”

The Estonian government had been lobbying for the directive from the beginning of the year and the directive was in danger after receiving a negative assessment from the European Parliament's Environment Committee.

J.M. Laats, S. Tambur

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