No gasoline in our salads! The “wandering refinery” in the Lyon region (1970-1973)

Mobilisations for the environment after 1968
By Stéphane Frioux


The history of the rise of the “environment” as a category of public policy in France is not only a matter of technocrats in the upper reaches of land planning. An investigation of the archives of a popular movement, overseen and amplified by mayors and other local politicians, against a project to build a refinery in the Lyon region, reveals how several representations of land planning existed and conflicted. Economic growth was not called into question, but the defence of farming or of the potential for tourism in parts of the region constituted the core argument put forward by these opponents. These local social movements defeated both the industrialism of French prefects and the oil company that intended to set up its plant in the Lyon region, by delaying a final decision until the first oil shock in 1973 made the project purposeless.
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