Millions of euro spent on imported energy in Manorhamilton

Manorhamilton households spend more than €2 million every year on transport and other energy uses. This is the startling total determined through an Energy Audit carried out by GEAI and Love Leitrim volunteers. The study calculates that the 563 households in the town spend over €500,000 on electricity and over €600,000 on other fuels (oil, gas and solid fuels), an average of €2,200 per household. A total of €1 million is also spent on petrol and diesel, an average of €1,600 per car owner. “What this means is that over €1.5 million of Manorhamilton’s disposable income is spent on imported fossil fuels every year and therefore lost to the economy!” said GEAI Director, Aedín McLoughlin. “People don’t realise the very real potential of renewable energies to reduce imports, generate income and jobs for local communities and provide energy security for the future. The Manorhamilton community, having turned its back on fracking, is now looking at alternatives and is finding out that renewable energies, as well as lowering carbon emissions, can also benefit the health and economic growth of its town.” The survey is part of the “Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” event taking place on 24th June in the Bee Park Centre, Manorhamilton. It will be a day of presentations, workshops and discussions with many interesting speakers and topics of discussion. Pauline Gallacher from the Neilston Trust (Scotland) and Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader will be the main speakers, but this is not going to be the usual conference where local people simply listen to experts. The aim is that everyone attending will get a chance to speak and be heard.

Book1

Registration for the event

How do we get off our Fossil Fuel addiction?

Sustainable Energy – without the hot air

The following is an extract of the synopsis of the excellent book by Professor David McKay

We have an addiction to fossil fuels, and it’s not sustainable. The developed world gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels; Britain, 90%. And this is unsustainable for three reasons.

  • First, easily-accessible fossil fuels will at some point run out, so we’ll eventually have to get our energy from someplace else.
  • Second, burning fossil fuels is having a measurable and very-probably dangerous effect on the climate. Avoiding dangerous climate change motivates an immediate change from our current use of fossil fuels.
  • Third, even if we don’t care about climate change, a drastic reduction in Britain’s fossil fuel consumption would seem a wise move if we care about security of supply: continued rapid use of the North Sea oil and gas reserves will otherwise soon force fossil-addicted Britain to depend on imports.
How can we get off our fossil fuel addiction?

There’s no shortage of advice on how to “make a difference,” but the public is confused, uncertain whether these schemes are fixes or fig leaves. People are rightly suspicious when companies tell us that buying their “green” product means we’ve “done our bit.” They are equally uneasy about national energy strategy. Are “decentralization” and “combined heat and power,” green enough, for example? The government would have us think so. But would these technologies really discharge Britain’s duties regarding climate change? Are windfarms “merely a gesture to prove our leaders’ environmental credentials”? Is nuclear power essential?

We need a plan that adds up. The good news is that such plans can be made. The bad news is that implementing them will not be easy…

Download the full synopsis: Click here
Download the full book: Click here

David McKay is Professor of Physics, Cambridge University.

FRACKING BY THE NUMBERS

How big is the fracking industry?

Environment America have produced a report which gives a startling picture of the extent of fracking in US and some of the impacts caused by this industry.  [Download report] “Fracking by the Numbers” needs wide circulation – the scale of the industry and its use of land, water and chemicals is not realised; neither is the scale of the impacts of fracking on water use and contamination as well as air emissions.  The following is a synopsis:

National Environmental and Public Health Impacts of Fracking

• Fracking Wells since 2005 82,000
• Toxic Wastewater Produced in 2012 (billion gallons) 280
• Water Used since 2005 (billion gallons) 250
• Chemicals Used since 2005 (billion gallons) 2
• Air Pollution in One Year (tons) 450,000
• Land Directly Damaged since 2005 (acres) 360,000

Toxic wastewater:

Fracking produces enormous volumes of toxic wastewater—often containing cancer-causing and even radioactive material. Once brought to the surface, this toxic waste poses hazards for drinking water, air quality and public safety:

  • Fracking wells nationwide produced an estimated 280 billion gallons of wastewater in 2012.
  • This toxic wastewater often contains cancer-causing and even radioactive materials, and has contaminated drinking water sources from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. In New Mexico alone, waste pits from all oil and gas drilling have contaminated groundwater on more than 400 occasions.
  • Scientists have linked underground injection of wastewater to earthquakes.
Water use:

Fracking requires huge volumes of water for each well.

  • Fracking operations have used at least 250 billion gallons of water since 2005.
  • While most industrial uses of water return it to the water cycle for further use, fracking converts clean water into toxic wastewater, much of which must then be permanently disposed of, taking billions of gallons out of the water supply annually.
  • Farmers are particularly impacted by fracking water use as they compete with the deep-pocketed oil and gas industry for water, especially in drought-stricken regions of the country.
Chemical use:

Fracking uses a wide range of chemicals, many of them toxic.

  • Operators have hauled more than 2 billion gallons of chemicals to thousands of fracking sites around the country.
  • In addition to other health threats, many of these chemicals have the potential to cause cancer.
  • These toxics can enter drinking water supplies from leaks and spills, through well blowouts, and through the failure of disposal wells receiving fracking wastewater.
Air pollution:

Fracking-related activities release thousands of tons of health-threatening air pollution.

  • Nationally, fracking released 450,000 tons of pollutants into the air that can have immediate health impacts.
  • Air pollution from fracking contributes to the formation of ozone “smog,” which reduces lung function among healthy people, triggers asthma attacks, and has been linked to increases in school absences, hospital visits and premature death. Other air pollutants from fracking and the fossil-fuel-fired machinery used in fracking have been linked to cancer and other serious health effects.
Global warming pollution:

Fracking produces significant volumes of global warming pollution.

  • Methane, which is a global warming pollutant 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is released at multiple steps during fracking, including during hydraulic fracturing and well completion, and in the processing and transport of gas to end users.
  • Global warming emissions from completion of fracking wells since 2005 total an estimated 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Damage to our natural heritage:

Well pads, new access roads, pipelines and other infrastructure turn forests and rural landscapes into industrial zones.

  • Infrastructure to support fracking has damaged 360,000 acres of land for drilling sites, roads and pipelines since 2005.
  • Forests and farmland have been replaced by well pads, roads, pipelines and other gas infrastructure, resulting in the loss of wildlife habitat and fragmentation of remaining wild areas. In Colorado, fracking has already damaged 57,000 acres of land, equal to one-third of the acreage in the state’s park system.
  • The oil and gas industry is seeking to bring fracking into our national forests, around several of our national parks, and in watersheds that supply drinking water to millions of Americans.
Fracking has additional impacts not quantified here

—including contamination of residential water wells by fracking fluids and methane leaks; vehicle and workplace accidents, earthquakes and other public safety risks; and economic and social damage including ruined roads and damage to nearby farms.

To address the environmental and public health threats from fracking across the nation:

States should prohibit fracking. Given the scale and severity of fracking’s myriad impacts, constructing a regulatory regime sufficient to protect the environment and public health from dirty drilling—much less enforcing such safeguards at more than 80,000 wells, plus processing and waste disposal sites across the country—seems implausible. In states where fracking is already underway, an immediate moratorium is in order. In all other states, banning fracking is the prudent and necessary course to protect the environment and public health.

• Given the drilling damage that state officials have allowed fracking to incur thus far, at a minimum, federal policymakers must step in and close the loopholes exempting fracking from key provisions of our nation’s environmental laws.

• Federal officials should also protect America’s natural heritage by keeping fracking away from our national parks, national forests, and sources of drinking water for millions of Americans.

• To ensure that the oil and gas industry—rather than taxpayers, communities or families—pays the costs of fracking damage, policymakers should require robust financial assurance from fracking operators at every well site.

More complete data on fracking should be collected and made available to the public, enabling us to understand the full extent of the harm that fracking causes to our environment and health.

Defining “Fracking”

In this report, when we refer to the impacts of “fracking,” we include impacts resulting from all of the activities needed to bring a shale gas or oil well into production using high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracturing operations that use at least 100,000 gallons of water), to operate that well, and to deliver the gas or oil produced from that well to market. The oil and gas industry often uses a more restrictive definition of “fracking” that includes only the actual moment in the extraction process when rock is fractured—a definition that obscures the broad changes to environmental, health and community conditions that result from the use of fracking in oil and gas extraction.

Public Consultation on Oil/Gas Licensing of Belfast and Larne Loughs

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Oil/Gas Licensing in Belfast Lough and Larne Lough

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) is currently developing criteria for Petroleum Licensing in Belfast and Larne Loughs (the Plan). The plan will provide a framework for how petroleum licensing will be undertaken in the internal waters of Northern Ireland.  Click HERE for more information.

View over Belfast Lough

Public Consultation
The public consultation on the Scoping Report began on the 24th April 2013 and will continue until 14th June 2013.  (http://www.sealoughs.co.uk/public-consultation/)
The consultation on the Scoping Report seeks comments on:
  • The appropriateness of the proposed scope of the SEA (this will help ensure that all issues of potential concern are considered);
  • The appropriateness of the proposed assessment methodology; and
  • Any additional sources of relevant information that could be used to inform the assessment.
Email comments should be submitted to minerals@detini.gov.uk and written submissions should be sent to:
Minerals and Petroleum Branch
Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment
Colby House
Stranmillis Court
Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5BJ
The deadline for comments will be 14th June 2013

The EPA received 1,300 submissions regarding Terms of Reference of their proposed research study on fracking.  Oil or Gas exploration or extraction in Belfast or Larne Loughs would also include horizontal drilling and fracking. 

LET’S GET AN EQUAL NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS TO DETI ON THESE PROPOSALS!

Also see campaign website for further information:
https://sites.google.com/site/frackingfreedocumentsireland/deti-2013

Transocean fined $1.4 billion over Deepwater Horizon

DeepwaterAlthough the subject is not directly fracking, this article gives a ray of hope that sometimes these oil conglomerates can be made to contribute towards the cost of the damage they cause.
“The US government will be paid $1.4 billion in fines and penalties by Transocean, the Swiss-based firm which owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig….” Please read this article on thejournal.ie, on this link.

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