GEAI supports Leitrim County Council anti-fracking motion

iIPFxxAvBxys

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.

“Independent consultant” exposed as pro-fracking

Pro-fracking company, CDM Smith,is leading the research consortium asked to carry out research study on safety of fracking administered by EPA.  CDM Smith has been involved in the development of proposals for fracking in Poland and Ukraine and is a committed promoter of fracking in Europe. (via The Irish Times)

Link to Irish Times article:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/pro-fracking-company-asked-to-carry-out-safety-study-1.2178909

An overview of fracking in the EU

European_flag

The European Union lacks a common policy on fracking. Some countries are convinced supporters while others have banned it for safety and environmental reasons. This disagreement between the member states prevented the passing of a Directive regulating shale gas exploitation, resulting in the European Commission being restricted to adopting certain “recommendations“.

Recently the European Parliament published a briefing document highlighting the fracking policies of the members states. There are three groups: those that support fracking, those against, and those that still don’t know if they support or not. The UK is a very particular case, because it lies on both sides of the divide.  The following summarises the report:

Countries supporting frackingiIPFxxAvBxys

England (UK).  The British Government is in a “dash for gas”, despite some of the governing coalition MPs supporting a ban on fracking due to its environmental and health impacts. During the parliamentary debate, the Government accepted a Labour amendment that banned fracking from 40% of the shale gas areas previously offered for exploration.

Northern Ireland (UK).  The Stormont Executive has issued four exploratory licences that include the possibility of fracking. Two of them are still active. Drilling is about to take place in Ballinlea, near the Giant’s Causeway, and in Carrickfergus, beside a water reservoir near Belfast. Another licence was terminated by the Government but it is still open for new companies to apply.

Poland. This country has the largest resources in Europe, according to the US Energy Information Authority. However, the first exploration wells have shown disappointing results, and prompted some operators e.g. Chevron and Exxon, to leave Poland.  New laws to facilitate fracking have been passed but in June 2014 the EU Commission “opened legal proceedings against Poland, on the grounds that the new law infringes the environmental impact assessment (EIA) directive by allowing drilling at depths of up to 5000 metres without having assessed the potential environmental impact.”

Denmark. Despite being one the main promoter of renewable energies in Europe, Denmark approved exploratory drilling in 2014.

Spain. Spanish government supports shale gas development after putting a break on renewable energy development. Some of the regions have tried to ban fracking, but the Constitutional Court have declared that those moratoriums are unconstitutional.

Lithuania. The European Parliament report shows that this Baltic country “is the process of introducing “investor-friendly shale gas regulations”, but companies like Chevron “pulled out the country citing an uncertain legal framework”.

Romania. This country lifted an earlier ban in 2013 and is supportive of shale gas. The reports point out the “Chevron started exploratory drilling in  in May 2014”.

 

Countries against

Bulgaria. In January 2012 this country imposed a moratorium on fracking and revoked licences for shale gas exploration.

France. In 2013 French Constitutional Court upheld a ban on fracking approved two years before. France has some of the largest estimated shale gas reserves in Europe but President François Hollande has promised to maintain the ban on fracking as long as he is in office.

Scotland (UK). In January 2015 the Scottish Government called for a moratorium on fracking.  “This moratorium will continue until such time as the work I have set out to Parliament today, including a full public consultation and a full public heatlth impact assesment, is completed”, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said. Moreover, Scotland is expecting to get control over minerals rights in the enlargement of Home Rule promised after the independence referedum last year.

Wales (UK).  The Welsh Assembly called the Government to do “everything within its power to prevent fracking from taking place in Wales until it is proven to be safe in both an environmental and public health context.” The Welsh Government wants to achieve the same level of control over mineral rights as Scotland.

 

Maybe 

ireland-is-not-for-shale

Ireland. Our country declared a moratorium on fracking in 2012, when the Government decided not to issue any licences until the completion of a 2-years research program. Three licensing option were granted in 2010, but no decision will be made until 2017, when the research is finished.

Germany. The biggest European economy still doesn’t have a policy on fracking. The president of the Federal Environmental Agency said that “as long as there are no firm statements on the risks of this technology and how they can be controlled, there should be no fracking activity in Germany for the purpose of shale and coalbed gas extraction”. “But fracking has not been prohibited“, she remarked.

Netherlands. The European Parliament report points out that “shale gas exploration in the Netherlands gas been suspended, while a study to be completed in 2015 on its environmental and social effects is carried out.

Happy New Year to all our friends!

2013 is past and most of us are not unhappy to be in a New Year.  For many people and campaigners, 2013 was a tough year – throughout Ireland, people struggled with the national economic situation, personal reduction in disposable income and, of course, the looming threat of unconventional gas projects on our island.

2014 also promises to be a busy and challenging year.  The proposals to start drilling in Antrim and Fermanagh must be opposed with a really effective campaign that operates at all levels; a major campaign to advocate for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on national policy re fracking and a campaign to have an SEA on such policy must also be organised.  On top of all of that, the reality of Climate Change is hitting home and GEAI must produce some policy papers on renewable/sustainable energy sources.

Recently we received confirmation that GEAI and MARDI have been awarded a Youth Democracy project that will encourage young people from Ireland and Poland to study how environmental campaigns are waged in the two countries, also how decisions are made at EU Parliament level.  We are looking forward to this exciting, interesting and challenging project.

Certainly, there is no room for complacency – powerful consortia are eyeing our island and planning exploitation of our natural resources without any care for our environment, our heritage, or our people.  The fight against such exploitation must take place at every level – on the street, advocacy, mounting legal challenges, awareness raising throughout the island.  2014 is a crucial year with local authority and EU elections in May.  It is vital that fracking becomes an election issue with all parties and independents.

WE WISH ALL OUR SUPPORTERS A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND FRACK-FREE NEW YEAR!

COPYRIGHT

® All rights reserved to GEAI 2018