SUCCESS! EU Committee votes for EIAs

EIAs for Shale Gas projects “regardless of the amount extracted”

Dartry Valley

Maybe we can keep the Dartry Valley pristine?

Despite strong lobbying from the oil/gas industry, the EU Environment Committee on Thursday voted to strengthen proposed changes to the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments. According to the EU Environment Bureau “this vote will broaden the scope of the directive, close some of the loopholes that allowed developers to avoid an EIA, foresee the monitoring of the projects during all the project phases including post-closure phases, require the assessment of relevant alternative projects and include provisions for better information and a meaningful participation of the public.”
The adopted text explicitly includes “the use of interim measures to ensure the project does not start before the review process is completed.”
Shale-gas exploitation is now included in Annex I of the Directive “regardless of the amount extracted” thus making an EIA obligatory for projects of any size. The vote also supports strengthening the provisions to cover underground and subsoil impacts.
The vote was passed 51 for, 18 against, a powerful indication of the strength of the lobbying campaign waged by environmental groups throughout Europe. Thanks to all who sent emails to MEPs, also to Geraldine, Charlie, Ineke, FOE and all who pushed the campaign in Ireland.


  1. David Malone says:

    Do we know the date that the new EIA is to be transposed into Irish law

  2. Aedin says:

    They voted for a change in the Directive. I don’t know how long it would take for that to be adopted by a Member State

  3. Éimhín says:

    While this is good news it means rather little for Ireland due to the State’s conduct in general with regard to EIAs. I was paying attention a little to the development of BIM’s facilitation of Marine Harvest in the application for the licence for the development of the the ‘Organic’ salmon farm off the coast of Galway. My Uncle works in the Marine Institute and so I had heard a few horror stories that perked my attention to these and related issues. I started listening in to Oireachtas sessions around Agriculture and Marine issues, and during one of these the issue of EIAs came up.
    Philip Nugent, the FG TD for Planning and Development clearly stated that current government funds cannot cover the cost of mandatory independent EIAs. The current policy in this context is to let the developers cover the cost of the EIAs…and so ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ as they say…these could hardly be called ‘independent’.
    Looking at how this is working in practice we see that first of all the EU pay half the funding for the EIA, these are used to put less than half a board together, and the rest of the board are elected by the developers who also pay the research team. I know of one definite case in which 6 of the 10 EIA board members were also board members of the development company in question.
    It is a known fact that in 20 years of EIAs in Ireland not one has gone against the development company.
    We are seeing the results of this now, with the international scientific community rejecting the results of the study put out by the Marine Institute, one Taisce article said of the report that ‘it is not worth the paper its written on’.
    I have been following this for a while, and am preparing a documentation of the issue as it develops along with information from conversations with my Uncle about related issues regarding water quality, cryptosporidium, and the link to so called ‘stable biosolids’ as fertilizers on Coillte sites around the country. I intend to go and speak to the folk he has cited in these conversations also, with the help of friends from a citizen media group in Dublin.
    In the meantime I will be applying to FOE Ireland for a position on their staff to help afford me the means to pursue these activities in a more dedicated manner.

    • David Malone says:

      David Malone EAA-I Reply

      Since 1990, EAA-I has drafted and registered over 250 complaints with the European Commission with regard to infringements of European (EIA) Directives. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled on 6 different occasions (Cases C-392/96; C-66/06; C-215/06; C-427/07 and C-50/09) that Ireland had failed to fulfill its obligations under the EIA Directive. In December 2012, Ireland was fined €1.5 million for failing to implement the CJEU judgement in Case C-66/06 following a CJEU ruling in November 2008.

      However, EAA-I was never made aware of EIA board members . Could you please send me further details of the members of this board.
      Regards David

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