GEAI supports Leitrim County Council anti-fracking motion

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Good Energies Alliance Ireland strongly supports the anti-fracking motion passed by Leitrim County Council by an overwhelming majority on Monday 11th. The motion, submitted by Mary Bohan (FF) calls for a “a vote of no confidence in the CDM Smith’s consortium of researchers appointed by the EPA to carry out the research programme in relation to fracking”.

CDM Smith is a pro-fracking organisation, involved with shale gas companies in Poland and Canada, the Irish Times revealed last month. The EPA-administered research opposed by the Council is led by CDM Smith. It will last for another year, with final reports due in September 2016. “The problem is that the research study is led by the industry, which is not qualified to do public health studies and whose findings would be suspect”. GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said.

“We are delighted that this motion got such support by Leitrim County Council. It shows that the councillors are prepared to stand behind the ban on fracking they imposed last year and will not support an investigation of fracking that is carried out by a company with vested interests”, GEAI director said.

“This motion also called for research on fracking to be carried out by the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer”, McLoughlin said. “This should consist of an up-to-date and comprehensive review of the public health impacts of fracking. We have been asking for this since we know the truth about CDM Smith”, GEAI director stated.

New York State banned fracking after a review of the Public Health impacts of Fracking by the Department of Health, followed by consideration of the review and a full ban on fracking by New York State Governor Cuomo. “ We want the same in Ireland” Aedín McLoughlin concluded.

An inspiring meeting in Glenfarne

Janice Raine-Conick, Julia Walsh, John Armstrong, Renee Vogelsang, Aedín McLoughlin and Irina Tiugan.

Janice Raine-Conick, Julia Walsh, John Armstrong, Renee Vogelsang, Aedín McLoughlin and Irina Tiugan.

Three leaders of the New York Campaign against Fracking – Julia Walsh, Renee Vogelsang and John Armstrong – told the story of their success in getting a review of the Public Health impacts of Fracking by the New York State Department of Health, followed by consideration of the review and a full ban on fracking by Governor Cuomo.

Julia, spokesperson of New York Frack Action said that from the beginning the aim of the campaign was a full Ban on Fracking and for seven years, the campaign repeated this demand. A key component of the campaign was their “Dear Governor Cuomo” strategy, where campaigners followed the Governor and protested at every event he attended. “In the end, if we were not there protesting, he assumed he had arrived at the wrong venue!” Julia joked. On a more serious note, she reiterated the importance of being visible to the person making the decision; “If that is your Minister for Energy, shadow him, be visible, don’t let him think you are gone away.”

John Armstrong warned against the common refrain of the oil and gas industry where they propose to frack, “We’re going to get it right!”. “They will promise you gold standard regulations, consultation, money, anything to convince you that this time all will be well,” said John. “But everywhere they go, they are followed by well failures, air pollution, water contamination and sicknesses in communities. Like cigarettes, regulations don’t make fracking safe!”

Renee warned that the campaign against fracking is not just about science – organisation is essential. Writing, demonstrating, getting a political mandate. We have to create a megaphone of our voices so that we reach every member of the public. The most important aim of the campaign – DO NOT LET FRACKING INTO IRELAND!

The three campaigners were hosted by Good Energies Alliance Ireland, Love Leitrim and Northwest Network Against Fracking during their visit to Ireland.

Great News! New York State Bans Fracking

In spite of huge pressure from the oil and gas industry, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation has concluded that the health risks of fracking are too great, and it will not permit the development of fracking in the state.

This decision comes after the publication of a substantial report from the Department of Health, which concludes:  “Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State.”

In his statement, acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker said,“We cannot afford to make a mistake. The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Deborah Goldberg who represented the Town of Dryden, NY in its fracking ban case.  “This is truly a monumental day. Governor Andrew Cuomo has earned a place in history. Never before has a state with proven gas reserves banned fracking. I believe that future generations will point to this day and say ‘This is when the tide began to turn against the dirty, dangerous and destructive fossil fuel industry.’ This is a hard-fought victory that belongs to the brave people of New York who refused to give up, refused to give in.  Now all New Yorkers can enjoy the safety and peace of mind that the 80 New York communities that have banned fracking already have. We hope that this determined leadership Governor Cuomo has displayed will give courage to elected leaders throughout the country and world: fracking is too dangerous and must not continue.”

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