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The government wants to “facilitate” the construction of agricultural water reservoirs, says Agnès Pannier-Runacher

This weekend the agricultural show was held in Paris.

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The government wants to “facilitate” the construction of agricultural water reservoirs, says Agnès Pannier-Runacher

This weekend the agricultural show was held in Paris. The meeting between Emmanuel Macron and the farmers was tough. Despite the jostling, the President of the Republic took the floor to express himself on the actions that would be put in place for farmers. The government intends, in its new agricultural law, to “facilitate” the installation of water reserves for agriculture, the Minister for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said on Monday. “We are going to facilitate (..) the procedures for creating water storage works” by “simplifying” them, declared the minister on Public Senate, against a backdrop of anger among farmers which has continued for more than a month.

“What we are talking about is storing water,” she argued, refuting the term “basins”. “For as long as humans have been farming, they have been storing water,” she added. The construction of additional water reserves to deal with climate change is one of the demands raised during the demonstrations. Some operators are calling for the construction of reservoirs, described as “substitute reserves” by their promoters and “mega-basins” by their detractors, filled by pumping into groundwater.

At the end of January, the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, had already demonstrated his desire to accelerate the construction of water reserves by presenting a fund of 20 million euros intended to improve the storage and efficiency of the irrigation. On Saturday, during a stormy visit for the opening of the Agricultural Show, Emmanuel Macron pledged to “recognize our agriculture and our food as a major general interest of the French nation”, which could facilitate such projects. The measure still needs to be explained, but it resembles the presumption of major public interest from which wind turbine or solar power plant projects can benefit, for example, when their construction risks endangering protected species or habitats.

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“I did it for renewable energies,” said Agnès Pannier-Runancher about the simplification of administrative procedures. She also described the idea of ​​removing agriculture from free trade treaties as “enormous stupidity”. “Free trade treaties are the way to regulate trade” and “to impose reciprocity clauses, environmental clauses,” she argued.

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