On July 2nd 2011, Swedish gas exploration company Gripen Gas were given permission by Swedish governmental agency Bergsstaten to conduct shale gas prospecting on five different locations on the island Öland in Sweden (1) on a total area of 18,600 ha; which is one seventh of the total area of Öland.
Immediately after the announcement, locals as well as politicians started mobilising and oppose the permission given to Gripen Gas. The group Aktionsgruppen mot Fossilgasutvinning på Öland (AMFÖ) (The Action group against Fossil gas extraction on Öland) was formed and petitions against the project circulated. Several EJOs, besides AMFÖ, as well as representatives of the municipalities of Borgholm and Mörbylånga on Öland (in which the prospecting sites are located) expressed strong opposition to the project.
The main concerns of the opposition is that the fresh water supply on Öland is a fragile system since there are not many fresh water reservoirs and the island has a low annual precipitation. The two main industries on Öland are agriculture and tourism – both water-intensive – and a pollution of the fresh water on the island could threaten not only the health of people but also the main industries of the island as well as the natural systems on which they depend.
As of today, Gripen Gas has the permission to test drill on Öland, and the struggle for locals and politicians to stop the project continues.(See less)