Back the bill – 2016

2016 Starts with a General Election
“Sign the Pledge”

Following our successful Stop the Study campaign, the campaign against fracking in Ireland now entered a new phase. A General Election was called for February. All candidates throughout Ireland, in every constituency, were asked to sign a pledge that they would support legislation “to ban unconventional exploration or extraction of shale oil or gas using high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking)”.

To sign the pledge was made simple through the campaign website votefrackfree.org. The website includes a “name and shame” section that names those who have not signed. A publicity event on 19th February (The Hustings) highlighted the support given to the campaign.

Warning from GEAI

“The threat of fracking has still not gone away. Applications for exploration licences are still on the Minister’s desk! We want all candidates of every party and none, to sign this pledge to express their opposition to this industry. Then we want the new government to pass new legislation that will ban fracking in Ireland forever.

Stop the StudyWe will continue to campaign until that legislation is passed. New studies of the environment and public health impacts of fracking in US are confirming that this is a high risk industry; the litany of harms in areas being fracked increases day by day – water contamination, earthquakes, air pollution and a range of public health impacts that include skin and respiratory illnesses, allergies and cancer.  We don’t want or need fracking in Ireland!”

The Sign the Pledge campaign was organised by Fracking Free Network, Friends of the Earth and GEAI. It operated through the campaign website www.votefrackfree.org.

More

Cross-party support for Tony’s Bill

tony-back-the-billThe issue of Fracking had now become national!  This paved the way for the introduction of no less than three Private Members Bills proposing to ban fracking into which GEAI had input.  These went into a “lottery” and Tony McLoughlin’s Bill was drawn in October. A frenzy of campaigning started by GEAI, Love Leitrim, Friends of the Earth and other organisations.  Last Thursday saw the culmination of all of this effort – a Bill that sought to prohibit the process of fracking was supported by every party in the Dáil and by every TD who spoke during the debate on 27th October.

“After five years of continuous campaigning against fracking, all the organisations involved in our campaign  can celebrate a huge milestone.  To have such unanimous support for this Bill is an incredible achievement for local communities threatened with fracking.  It shows the strength of the united people’s voice backed with the tools of advocacy and social media.  We thank everyone involved and especially Tony McLoughlin TD who brought the bill forward and fought against an amendment that would have delayed the debate.  We are delighted that one of our Directors, Eddie Mitchell, was responsible for the wording of the Bill, together with Kate Ruddock from Friends of the Earth.”
(Aedín McLoughlin, Director GEAI)

The Bill that banned fracking in Ireland

Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael T.D.,  put forward an amendment to the Petroleum and Minerals Act that, though outwardly simple, would effectively ban any further on-shore exploration or extraction of oil or gas from rock or coal in the Republic of Ireland.

Wording of the Amendment

Wording of Explanatory Memorandum

 

On the advice of the Attorney General, this wording was changed.  The essential part of the final wording:

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Act or any other enactment or rule of law it shall not be lawful for a person to search for, get, raise, take, carry away or work petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing.

(2) The prohibition in subsection (1)—
(a) shall apply in respect of petroleum that is situated in the State including the internal waters, and
(b) shall not apply in respect of petroleum that is offshore.

Full wording of the Amendment: Prohibition of Fracking Bill 2017

 

 

 

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