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Pungești, a poor town in Vaslui county in eastern Romania, has become the centre of the Romanian revolt against shale gas. Since October 14, locals have been protesting against an exploration project that was to be conducted by Chevron. On October 17, the American company announced that it would temporarily postpone the start of work.

The farmers in Pungești “do not want American prosperity, because their livelihood is dependent on agriculture, and their water would be poisoned,” explains România liberă. However, according to the daily, the protests have been orchestrated by the Orthodox Church, which is attempting to recover land that it had handed over to the American company — an allegation denied by the priests.

Local authorities want to organise a referendum to consult the population on the issue of shale gas, while Chevron insists that it only plans to explore the area, and has the permission to do so.