The end of Fracking proposals in Ireland?

Could this stop the oil and gas industry?

Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael T.D., has put forward an amendment to the Petroleum and Minerals Act that, though outwardly simple, could 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

Essential wording

“Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Act of the Oireachtas no Minister, Agency,
Planning Authority or Body acting on behalf of the State shall grant an authorisation and/
or grant of any consent, licence, permit, lease or undertaking for the exploration or
extraction of petroleum from shale rock, tight sands or coal seams in the Irish onshore
and Ireland’s internal waters.”

There’s a long road ahead for this Bill.  It must be debated in the Dáil (probably in the autumn), go to Committee stage, come back to the Dáil, etc.  So, this will not be enacted in the near future.  However, it does constitute a very significant way forward for the campaign against fracking.

NOW THE LOBBYING MUST START!

ANTI-FRACKING BILL WELCOME, BUT NOT ENOUGH


An amendment of the Petroleum and Minerals Act 1960 has been brought to the floor of the Dáil byand publicised as a ban on fracking.  The approach is to redefine Petroleum as “does not include any gas extracted through unconventional gas exploration and extraction methods “.  If this bill was passed, any petroleum licences for exploration or extraction of natural gas by fracking would not be permitted.

Leslie O'Hora - Green Party candidate

Leslie O’Hora – Green Party candidate

“I welcome any initiative to look for legislation to ban fracking.  However, I have a problem with this amendment, first published in 2013,” said Leslie O’Hora, Green Party candidate for Sligo/Leitrim and member of GEAI.  “The wording does not include oil, which is a major omission, given the current drilling in north Belfast, expressly looking for oil deposits.  Legislation based on this bill could allow fracking to extract oil”.

“In my view, and the view of other anti-fracking campaigners, any legislation banning fracking must be mirrored north and south.  We are one island and the oil and gas industries know no border.  In Northern Ireland, proposals to use unconventional methods (“fracking”) to extract oil are currently being explored.”

“I also have a problem with the terms “unconventional”.  There is no standard definition of this and the industry changes definitions all the time.  This term would need to be defined carefully if it was to be used in legislation.  In fact, the Green Party position is that ALL exploration and extraction of on-shore petroleum (including oil and gas) should be prohibited in the context of Climate Change and our obligations under the Paris Agreement.”

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