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France upholds ban on fracking

PARIS — France’s constitutional council upheld a ban on the energy extraction process known as fracking on Friday, two days after the European Parliament voted to require full environmental reports from companies that want to establish hydraulic fracturing sites.

The decision comes the same day the International Energy Agency predicted the United States would overtake Russia next year to become the world’s largest oil producer outside OPEC, renewing questions about Europe’s ability to compete in a shifting energy landscape.

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President Francois Hollande of France had promised to maintain the ban imposed by his predecessor in 2011, even though France had been named among the most promising European countries for shale gas extraction.

The French, who rely largely on nuclear energy, fear the environmental costs of hydraulic fracturing are too steep.

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