South America: Río Negro declares anti-fracking legislation is unconstitutional

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      …South America: The highest tribunal in Río Negro province yesterday declared a local law that established the town of Allen“free from fracking” as “unconstitutional,” after the community had moved to prevent the environmental impact caused by hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to extract shale oil and gas resources that has been under the spotlight since state-run oil company YPF discovered the large Vaca Muerta shale deposits. In a ruling issued yesterday, the judges who make up the tribunal said the province “has exclusive competence to rule on hydrocarbon issues” and that “even though towns practice environmental police faculties in their territory, they have to do so without invading provincial jurisdiction.” Allen, a small agricultural town in Río Negro, centred a large part of the debate over the risks of fracking after numerous protests by local citizens in opposition to the unconventional oil and gas deposits currently exploited by energy company Apache . Due to the local pressure, on August 22 the city council approved the anti-fracking legislation….