Statements/Press Releases

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The united Farmers Association held a meeting in Drumshanbo, 26 Sept. 2013
There was a good turn out by farmers . Campaigners handed out the (all Ireland) campaign lealfet, promoted the global frack down day ( in Carrick-on-Shanon) and told the farmers not to sit on the fence.
Leah held a passionate argument and challenged Sinn Fein to be more visible on their position to ban fracking.

It seems to be fruitful – Rural Minister Rules Out Fracking –
http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=169763

Press release re: UFA organised meeting on Fracking. 30/09/2013.

The UFA (United farmers Association) organised an information public meeting in Drumshambo Co. Leitrim on Thursday night the 26th on the subject of hydro-Fracking for shale gas deposits at the request of its members.

An attendance of 75/80 persons were present to view filmed documentaries and hear from a panel of speakers. The meeting which chaired by Mr. Pat McCarthy National press and information officer UFA was addressed by Bertie Wall President UFA Michael Colreavy TD SF, Des Guckian, Councillors Gerry Dolan IND, Mary Bohan FF, Cllr Martin Kenny SF, Mr John Bailey, with
lively contributions from the floor including from Brian Rooney, Leah Doherty and John Cronin. Apologies were received from Fine Gael TD’s and Councillors.

The principle theme of the meeting was the very possible effect that hydraulic shale gas Fracking could have on agriculture, tourism and employment in areas ear marked for such activity.

Mr. Wall pointed out to the meeting that a scientific study carried out for the Federal German Government established that there were 88 different chemicals in Fracking fluid of which 80 were harmful to varying degrees ranging from toxic to irritant-contaminant. Between 20 to35% of Fracking fluid remains in the ground posing an unknown and unquantifiable threat to artificers and ground water vital to life both human and animal. Of
that which is removed from the abandoned well there is no safe way to dispose of this waste. The German study states that treatment in specialist water treatment plants is technically feasible but economically totally unviable which leaves deep injection into the ground, spreading on the surface or creating dumps in emptied lakes. Similarly, heavy
metals such as strontium, arsenic, barium, cadmium, lead, and mercury may be found in fracking waste all of which can be absorbed by plants and so be subsumed into the food chain.

Explosions, flow-backs, spills, flares, leaky gas pipes, degraded concrete casing all pose huge possible contamination risks and given the sorry history of mining , drilling and exploration companies worldwide there is very good reason to fear a development such as shale gas Fracking in such a beautiful county as Leitrim.

Michael Colreavy TD informed the meeting that he is prepared to frame and introduce a bill to outlaw ‘UNCONVENTIONAL GAS EXTRACTION’ into Dail Eireann. His party Sinn Fein is totally opposed to Fracking North and South.

Counsellor Gerry Dolan Independent informed the meeting that he had introduced a motion in Leitrim Co. Council to put a ban on Fracking into the County development plan. This motion was seconded by Counsellor Mary Bohan FF, Counsellor Dolan further informed the meeting that having questioned the mining/exploration companies at public meetings the
net employment each year of Fracking activity would be 7 persons while the roads would be demolished with 24 hour 44 tonner trucks hauling water day and night. A lively and very informative meeting ensued with contributions from virtually everybody in attendance

The UFA plans further meetings on CAP reform and Fracking.

ENDS.

 

ACHTUNG ALL : The fact that Deborah Rogers, Obama’s energy adviser, came to
Carrick-on-Shannon (2030 VISION,  Conference on 19 Sept 2013) and declared that the Fracking Bubble is about to burst  in the USA should be no cause of any celebrations for all of us here who can see the immediate threat looming up.

Our economy is very open. Our decision makers are really weak and appear corrupt. They
wish to sell fracking as the answer to all our ills and woes. They will sell us out for a song!
Forget the EPA and any studies they may state they are doing — it is a government puppet.
Decision makers will say “Fracking is of strategic national importance”. They will give unbelievable deals to the fracking companies that are losing out in the States. Ireland will get very little in  the form of revenue. Gas prices here will rise rather than fall. On top of that, there will be few real jobs, our countryside will be turned into an industrial wilderness and WE will have to pay for the attempted clean-up of most toxic wastes. People from Leitrim etc will be forced out of homes. Our national economy will implode yet again. Do we want that ?

I have always held the view that we should all be big enough to agree that one All-Ireland Committee should be formed and that we should synergise our efforts within its framework. From now on, well-meaning individuals and small groups will be of no use in the fight against fracking. The frackers are like well-armed criminals at our gate.
This is our Armageddon and we have no time to lose. To me it is a crisis situation and a disaster about to happen.
What do you think?
Sincerely.   Des Guckian, Dromod,Co Leitrim. Ph 0719638397.

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PRESS RELEASE  by GEAI
Fracking does not make sense economically

Deborah Rogers is an expert in the economics of shale gas and an advisor to the Obama administration.  Speaking at the 2030 Vision conference in Carrick-on-Shannon this month, she made it clear that the shale gas industry in the US is now in deep trouble.  The basic reason for this is that initially it was assumed that shale gas wells would behave much like conventional wells (tapping into an underground reservoir of gas) with a lifetime of 20 years.  All production and cash projections were based on this assumption, which turned out to be hopelessly optimistic.  In fact, the average productive shale gas well has a lifetime of 3 – 5 years only.

Based on those initial projections, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and some leasing companies made fortunes.   Drilling companies went into huge debt, encouraged by investment banks that made millions in fees.  Initially easily accessible gas was produced.  However, the wells started drying up far sooner than anticipated and the companies continued to drill more and more wells to meet their production targets, motivated by the cost of loans taken out.   They cannot stop, resulting in a glut of gas and the price has plummeted.  The selling price of gas at present is roughly half the cost of production, so all shale gas companies are losing money.

“The whole thing doesn’t make sense”, said Ms Rogers.  “Many of the big players have written down their assets, including BP, Encana and Chesapeake.   The Marcellus shale gas reserve estimates are down by 80%.  The recovery efficiency for the five major shale gas plays averages 6.5% compared with 75–80% for conventional gas fields.  The biggest companies, e.g. Exxon-Mobil, are now selling their assets.  Is the shale gas bubble soon going to deflate?”
“In the meantime, the drilling frenzy continues with collateral damage in the form of air pollution, ground water depletion, road damages and potential aquifer ruination”, she continued.  “This is immense and will only continue to rise as more and more wells need to be drilled.    None of these impacts are at present covered financially by the gas companies – in other words, profits are to be privatized while costs and negative impacts will be borne by the people. “

“2030 Vision – The Future of Energy in Ireland” conference was organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) to look at the choices of energy sources that Ireland has to make in the future.  Speakers included Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party, who gave an inspirational talk on the potential of renewable energy sources, in particular wind energy, to substitute for hydrocarbons.  The conference was part-funded by Leitrim County Council through the Agenda 21 programme.

 
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Good Energies Alliance report:

EIAs for Shale Gas projects “regardless of the amount extracted”
Dartry ValleyMaybe we can keep this pristine!

Despite strong lobbying from the oil/gas industry, the EU Environment Committee on Thursday voted to strengthen proposed changes to the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessments. According to the EU Environment Bureau “this vote will broaden the scope of the directive, close some of the loopholes that allowed developers to avoid an EIA, foresee the monitoring of the projects during all the project phases including post-closure phases, require the assessment of relevant alternative projects and include provisions for better information and a meaningful participation of the public.”
The adopted text explicitly includes “the use of interim measures to ensure the project does not start before the review process is completed.”
Shale-gas exploitation is now included in Annex I of the Directive “regardless of the amount extracted” thus making an EIA obligatory for projects of any size. The vote also supports strengthening the provisions to cover underground and subsoil impacts.
The vote was passed 51 for, 18 against, a powerful indication of the strength of the lobbying campaign waged by environmental groups throughout Europe. Thanks to all who sent emails to MEPs, also to Geraldine, Charlie, Ineke, FOE and all who pushed the campaign in Ireland.

PRESS RELEASE
Talamh – Talamh Press Release – CER’s claim to be ‘safety regulator’ 3.7.13

Talamh Response to CER Safety Case Consultation 14-6-2013 – Copy

64% of EU citizens against development of Shale Gas
Posted on 15/06/2013    by geaireland  http://goodenergiesalliance.com/
Irish Voice heard in Brussels meeting
The results of an EU on-line questionnaire on fracking were presented at a meeting on 7th June in Brussels, attended by Irish representatives of the campaign against fracking.  Almost 23,000 people responded to the questionnaire, a large majority of which agree on the lack of adequate legislation, the need for public information and the lack of public acceptance of unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas).  When the responses were weighted to reflect EU Member States’ population, they indicated that 64% of EU citizens thought that shale gas should not be developed in Europe at all.
Following presentation of the results, a broadly-based discussion of the environmental impacts of fracking took place.  The health impacts of fracking and the importance of applying the precautionary principle to proposals to frack were emphasised by the Irish representatives which included Dr Geralyn McCarron (Fermanagh), Geraldine Ring (Cork) and Dr Aedin McLoughlin (Leitrim).

Dr McCarron spoke about the impacts of contamination from fracking on a rural community she has studied in Australia.  “There was a range of symptoms related to neurotoxicity (damage to the nervous system), including severe fatigue, weakness, headaches, numbness and paraesthesia (pins and needles.  Almost all the children suffered from headaches and for over half of these the headaches were severe.   Other symptoms reported among the population included increases in cough, chest tightness, rashes, difficulty sleeping, joint pains, muscle pains and spasms, nausea and vomiting.”

Dr McCarron said that Health Impact Assessments, carried out with internationally recognised protocols, must be an integral part of every unconventional gas development proposal.

Aedín McLoughlin from GEAI  pointed out that throughout Europe, proposals for exploration included drilling and fracking in border areas (e.g. Leitrim/Fermanagh.   “Such exploration must not proceed without a common policy and regulatory framework between the two jurisdictions involved.  Water knows no borders and the areas targeted include the two major waterways of the  Shannon and Erne Rivers.”
She also stressed the importance of the precautionary principle and how it must be applied:  Proposals for on-shore unconventional gas exploration to be considered new plans or programmes by EU Member States and Strategic Environmental Assessments to be carried out on all such proposals as per  SEA Directive 2001; Health Impact Assessments to be carried out on all such proposals; and Environmental Impact Studies to be carried out on all stages of fracking, to include studies of the cumulative impacts of such developments.  “Finally, we consider that a Moratorium on unconventional gas exploration or extraction must be implemented in each Member State until such studies show that environmental degradation or adverse public health impacts will not result from such projects,” she concluded.

Geraldine Ring questioned the Commission’s proposal to develop a risk management framework. “Fracking carries with it risks, but also realities. One of these realities is the huge volume of flowback water and we know from the US, Canada and Australia that there is no best practice to treat it.” She asked how the Commission planned to deal with such realities.
She also referred to the gaps that have been already identified by the Commission in existing Directives.  “The current EU regulatory framework at both exploration and production phase has a number of gaps or potential gaps,” she said.  “A study published by the Commission in September of last year showed gaps in at least eight key environmental acquis, including the Water Framework Directive, the Air Quality Directive, the Mining Waste Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment directive which is currently under review.”

Aedín also visited the EU Parliament and had a discussion about the meeting with MEP Marian Harkin’s staff. Marian Harkin kindly sponsored her travel costs.
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“We Deserve Better” all-Ireland fracking moratorium campaign launched

A new North-South “We Deserve Better” campaign is being launched on Tuesday 4th June in Enniskillen with the aim of stopping on-shore oil/gas exploration drilling or fracking in Northern Ireland.   The campaign is directed at the Northern Ireland politicians and aims to get them to follow the example of Ministers Pat Rabbitte and Fergus O’Dowd in putting a stay on exploration while the joint North-South Government research into the environmental impacts of fracking is being carried out.  The campaign initially asks all citizens, North and South, to email Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness (First Minister and Deputy First Minister) with a strong message.

Dr Carroll O’Dolan from Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN) stated:
“Given that the research study is a north-south initiative and is actually publicised as being an all-Ireland study, it is completely unacceptable that the Northern Ireland Executive has not suspended the licencing process and halted the work programmes of all exploratory companies in line with the Dublin government.  Fracking is associated with a high risk of environmental contamination and has not been proven to be safe in the long term.”

“The situation is very serious, “ said Dr Aedín McLoughlin of Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI).  “We in the South have successfully lobbied for an effective moratorium on exploration for 2 years.   However, the Northern authorities have not followed suit and Tamboran have publicly stated they plan to start drilling later this year in an area in Fermanagh only six kilometres from the border. What is the point in stopping exploration in Leitrim if it is to go ahead in Fermanagh, part of the same shale area?  Water knows no borders, especially in the Lakelands of Fermanagh & Leitrim!    And why should the people of Northern Ireland not be given the same protection as people in the South?”

“This campaign is a joint initiative between FFAN [North] & GEAI [South].  We want it to be a really strong campaign and to have thousands of emails reaching Robinson and McGuinness immediately.  This will be followed up by a letter-writing campaign to be directed at all politicians, North and South.  We see this as a necessary step on the road to a long term moratorium on fracking in Ireland.
Also see the websites: goodenergiesalliance.com and frackaware.com for more details.”

Call from GEAI
ACTION NEEDED: ‘We Deserve Better’ Campaign. LETS HAVE 5,000 EMAILS into Minister’s inboxes this week!  Tamboran are planning to start drilling THIS YEAR in Fermanagh – possibly this month! Why are exploration licences refused in the South while research is being carried out and yet given the go-ahead in the North, only 10km over the border? Make your opinion known – email the Northern Ministers!

Link to blog and suggested text:
http://goodenergiesalliance.com/2013/06/04/we-deserve-better-all-ireland-campaign/

COMMENT:
PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO OFFICIAL MORATORIUM IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
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The Wind Blows Harder where the Sun Don’t Shine – http://skepteco.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-wind-blows-harder-where-the-sun-dont-shine/

Last week the UCC Environmental Society hosted a public information evening on fracking. Speakers were:
Jeremy Gilbert, BP’s chief petroleum engineer from 1989-2001, and now managing director of Barrelmore Ltd in West Cork;
Dr. Aedin McLoughlin and Liam Breslin of Good Energy Alliance Ireland, (GEAI) a Leitrim-based anti-fracking activist group.
Bernie Connolly from the Cork Environmental Forum chaired the discussion.
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PRESS RELEASE (4 May 2013)

EPA TO INCLUDE HEALTH STUDY IN NEW TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR STUDY ON FRACKING

Recently, the EPA carried out a public consultation and invited submissions on the proposed Terms of Reference (ToR) for a research study on the Environmental Impacts of Unconventional Gas Extraction (fracking). Over 1,300 submissions were received, the majority of these calling for a study on the impacts of fracking on public health.

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) now reports that this initiative has been successful. In a conversation with a spokesperson for the EPA it was explained that the purpose of the consultation was to ensure that the terms of reference for their research reflected the concerns of civil society. “They are going through the submissions at present and issues of major concern such as health will be included in the new ToR,” the spokesperson said.

He said they would not be able to take on board every issue that that had been put forward in different submissions but those which had been raised by a large number of submissions such as health “would definitely be in the new TOR”. There will be no further consultation with the public and tenders will be sought for the study in June through the e-tenders process.

“This is an important result that shows that advocacy can work in this country,” said Dr Aedín McLoughlin, Director GEAI. “From the beginning of this process, GEAI urged individuals and organisations to engage in the consultation process and show the strength of their views. The fact that over 1,300 submissions were received, the majority calling for a study on health impacts, showed the level of concern about the proposal to introduce fracking into Ireland. We are delighted that, according to the EPA, they are paying attention to what the people said and are implementing our demands, to some extent at least.

However, we still have concerns over the lack of engagement by the EPA and the study’s Steering Committee with the communities in the target areas. We will not get an opportunity for further discussion on the Terms of Reference or the development of the research study. We consider that the community should be represented during the entire process from beginning to end, in accordance with the spirit of the Aarhus Convention. We now call on Minister Pat Rabbitte to ensure that the democratic process applies to this very important issue and that a Forum is set up whereby there can be regular opportunities for discussion between the politicians, statutory agencies and the communities involved.”

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Good Energies Alliance Ireland
E: goodenergiesalliance@gmail.com
W: www.goodenergiesalliance.com
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Meeting and press release, Sat. 27 Oct. regarding the testing the water pollicy of the Environmental Pillar

PRESS RELEASE
Following a meeting at the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday 27th October, where a large attendance gathered, of concerned individuals and members from all groups involved in the anti-fracking campaign.
An unanimous agreement by all in attendance, that a statement should be
issued as follows.

“We demand a complete ban on fracking in Ireland, i.e. a ban on on-shoreunconventional hydrocarbon exploration and extraction inter alia also
called hydraulic fracturing.”

As Founder and Secretary of the Irish Environmental Forum, I was requested to chair this meeting. Our Forum felt that it was important that a united approach to a complete ban on Fracking in Ireland should be the goal, by all groups in the campaign. It was evident that all groups and indiviuals had one aim and one aim only, that was to ban this fracking outright throughout Ireland and not just in Letrim.

It was also evident, that the amount of work already put into this campaign was huge and comprehensive by all groups and the meeting at Bush Hotel on the 27th further showed that this determination and fight would not stop until the Government, its Agencies and the Industry in Question would walk away defeated from this project.
The Irish Environmental Forum believes that under no circumstances, fracking should even be considered for any part of Ireland. It would be one of the biggest Environmental Disaster ever to hit Ireland. Campaigners working together have a huge strength and capacity to make real change, in particular, to make sure that the social system works for the ordinary people and not just for big industry.”

Another important item on the agenda was the Terms of Reference for the new EPA study on fracking. A lively discussion was held on an offer to the campaigners from the EPA to engage in a limited public participation exercise to formulate “a list of questions that need to be answered by the
research”. The meeting unanimously agreed not to engage in any process other than full public consultation that would be suitable to all, that would take into account their concerns that they would raise, on certain
aspects of that full public particapation. Nothing could be taken for granted until these questions have been answered in full and agreed by all.

The concern to the EPA been immune from proscution under the EPA Act was raised. This meant that no one in the EPA would be held accountable, should the EPA make any decision in relation to Fracking that would impact on the community regarding its environment and human health in particular.

Another concern were the public comments by the Director General of the EPA, Ms Laura Burke “ That the Environmental Protection Agency should not be racing to prosecute business for not complying with environmental licences and regulations” The question must be asked, if the EPA themselves
does not intend to uphold the law to protect the Environment in Leitrim or any part of Ireland, then who will? It certainly cannot inspire confidence in any process that the EPA would be involved in.

A statement was issued by the meeting asking all environmental groups, including members of the Irish Environmental Pillar, not to engage in the process proposed. Strong feelings at the meeting, that any proposal from Government or Agencies should be made directly to the Community where fracking is been considered.

During the discussion it was pointed out that on 19th November (the final date for the proposed EP/EPA ‘consultation’ to be submitted) the EU was taking a very important vote

Apparently 9 EU countries threatened with fracking have already officially submitted their county’s hard copy and online petitions to be presented to the PETI commission in time to add weight to the vote against the adoption of these reports – Ireland is apparently noticeably absent from the list.

It is vital that all petitions are returned as soon as possible to Ineke Scholte She can also be contacted by email ineke@frackingfreeireland.org

Our forum was happy to facilate this meeting and that decisive decisions were take on an unanimously basis in coming to the decisions it did. This shows the strength and solidarity of the campaign and forms an excellent basis for going forward. Fracking would cause an environmental disaster nationally as well as locally and these big industries must learn that local communities have a voice and the strength to protect their land and their health.”

1/11/2012

Contact-
Pat Geoghegan
secretary of the IEF
geogheganpat@eircom.net
(087) 2241182

END
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Korbach Resolution – Meeting of the German Anti-Fracking-Initiatives
FRACKING FREE IRELAND DOES SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION
KORBACH RESOLUTION
Korbach-Resolution_05.06.2013_en  update 5 June 2013

http://www.resolution-korbach.org/

Dear all,

on the 4th and 5th of May 2013 twenty-five German
anti-fracking-initiatives and Food & Water Europe met in Korbach,
North-Hessia, to promote a stronger network and an exchange of
experiences.

The meeting was very constructive and productive and has helped a lot
to bring the German anti-fracking-initiatives closer together.

I send you enclosed the “Korbach Resolution” which was one of the main
results of the meeting (thanks to Geert for participating in the
translation). Please feel free to spread the resolution, file it on
your homepages, translate it and send it to your press contacts.

We are now looking for supporters (German- and EU-Wide) of the
KB-Resolution. My idea is, that – if the supporters-list is strong
enough – we could adress the EU-parliament and the German Government
before the publication of the public “fracking-consultation” in June.
We can also use this to constantly contact the press by calling
attention to the expansion of the supporters.

If you, your organisations or organisations you are working with, are
willing to co-sign the KB-resolution as supporters, please feel free to
get in touch with me.

Further decisions of the meeting were that:

1. Different actions shall be carried out throughout Germany on the
31st August 2013. Motto of the Day: “Keine Stimme für Fracking – No
vote for fracking”. Any group that would like to participate
(especially if close to the German border and close to an existing
German Anti-Fracking-Initiative) is heartly welcomed to do so. Just get
in touch.

2. The German groups will participate with similar decentralized
actions in the Global Frackdown Day on the 19th October 2013.

At last some press-voices concerning the meeting (all in German):
http://www.welt.de/regionales/frankfurt/article115900254/Buergerinitiativen-verabschieden-Resolution.html
http://www.focus.de/regional/hessen/energie-buergerinitiativen-verabschieden-resolution-gegen-fracking_aid_980632.html
http://www.fr-online.de/rhein-main/buergerinitiativen-verabschieden-resolution-gegen-fracking,1472796,22682182.html

my best regards

Andy

P.S.: We don’t wanna Frack the Rock, we wanna Roll the Rock ;-))

The Irish Doctors’ Envirionmental Association 20 th April 2013
http://ideaireland.org/

Fracking

The Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association has  serious concerns in relation to fracking, although we have not been able to devote as much times as we would have liked to this issue. Fracking is a method of obtaining fossil fuels by injecting fluid at very high pressures into the underground shale rock. This process creates new fractures and thereby allows access to the fossil fuels held in pores in the rock. A fluid, called a proppant is used in fracking, this is primarily water and sand, but also includes chemicals. Four issues can immediately be indentified that raise concerns about the impact of fracking on health.

Firstly, the process of fracking uses a wide variety of chemicals, including friction reducers, surfactants, gelling agents, scale inhibitors, acids, corrosion inhibitors, antibacterial agents and clay stabilisers. Work by researchers in the Tyndall Centre in the University of Manchester, published in 2011, found that 58  out of 262 chemicals used in fracking gave rise for concern. Among these, 17 were found to be toxic to aquatic organisms, 38 were classified as being acutely toxic to human health and eight were classiefied as known carcinogens.Can our water treatment systems cope with these chemicals? And what are the implications for our private wells?

Secondly, fracking requires substantial amounts of water, and it is acknowledged that water resources in Ireland are already under considerable pressure.

Thirdly, air may also be contaminated by volatile chemicals released during drilling and methane gas is an explosive. Research in the US has shown that methane concentrations in drinkingwater wells in areas within one or more km. of a gas well posed a ‘ potential explosion hazard’.

Finally, the British Geological Survey states that it is well established that fluid injections can cause small earthquakes and fracking has been associated with two small quakes near Blackpool.
It is widely recognised that we need to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses. However, the adoption of fracking is a step away from a solution to the problem of climate change. We must leave any remnants of fossil fuel in the ground, instead of seeking ever more expensive and envirionmentally destructive methods of extracting them. Our resources should be directed to low and zero-carbon methods of energy generation. We must protect our water supplies and to promote alternative sources of energy. In the interests of public health, we must not allow fracking in Ireland.

Any tragedy is upsetting; an avoidable tragedy is all the more so

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Statement on

Shale Gas Europe event “Public acceptance and the role of industry”

by Geert Decock, Policy officer Food & Water Europe.

Brussels – The oil and gas industry is going in overdrive in 2013 to sell shale gas and fracking to Brussels-based policy-makers and the European public. Today, Shale Gas Europe – an initiative by Chevron, Cuadrilla, Halliburton and others – is hosting an event in Brussels, entitled “Public acceptance and the role of industry”, as part of its campaign to improve the image of unconventional extraction methods. Despite such campaigns, shale gas continues to face an uphill battle for public acceptability in the EU. Surveys show that Europeans remain wary about the prospect of a shale gas project in their area. And early exploration efforts for shale gas have met stiff resistance from residents. There is a groundswell of public distrust vis-à-vis the reassuring messages of the oil and gas industry.  Food & Water Europe feels strengthened in its conviction that the EU can and must avoid the negative impacts associated with drilling thousands and thousands of shale gas wells across Europe. Europeans support an aggressive investment in renewables and energy efficiency, Brussels should listen.

Below is just a snapshot of the many voices, who reject shale gas as part of Europe’s energy mix. A Eurobarometer survey from January 2013 demonstrated that 74% of Europeans would be concerned, if a shale gas project came to their area. In a local referendum in November 2012 in Costinesti, Romania, where Chevron holds exploration licenses, 94,4% of the voters voted against hydraulic fracturing. In October 2012, thousands of Spaniards took to the streets in Santander and Vitoria to protest against exploration activities in Northern Spain.

“Shale gas is promoted as a potential game changer for Europe’s energy supply. Yet, many uncertainties remain”, said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. “The EU still lacks an updated EU-wide regulation for unconventional fossil fuels. The carbon footprint of natural gas remains an open question due to our limited understanding of the fugitive methane emissions involved in unconventional gas extraction. Governments have not drawn up plans on how to treat large volumes of heavily contaminated flowback water. In this context, it should come as a surprise that European citizens remain wary about unconventional gas and fracking”.

Food & Water Europe holds that European governments are putting the cart before the horse, by allowing exploration and extraction to go ahead without a detailed analysis of the risk and negative impacts of large-scale shale gas activities. Until all the climate, environmental and health impacts are adequately addressed, we believe that no further shale gas and other unconventional gas activities should proceed. We call on all Member States to suspend all ongoing activities, to abrogate permits, and to place a ban on any new projects, whether exploration or exploitation.

######

Food & Water Europe works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.

Contact: Geert De Cock tel. +32 (0)2 893 10 45, mobile +32 (0)484 629.491, gdecock(at)fweurope.org

Geert Decock

Policy Officer – Food & Water Europe

Tel: +32 (0)2 893 10 45

Mobile: +32 (0)484 629 491

Email: gdecock@fweurope.org

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @FoodWaterEurope

Website: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/europe/

 

PRESS RELEASE by GEAI (just received before issuing the newsletter)

Fracking does not make sense economically

Deborah Rogers is an expert in the economics of shale gas and an advisor to the Obama administration. Speaking at the 2030 Vision conference in Carrick-on-Shannon this month, she made it clear that the shale gas industry in the US is now in deep trouble. The basic reason for this is that initially it was assumed that shale gas wells would behave much like conventional wells (tapping into an underground reservoir of gas) with a lifetime of 20 years. All production and cash projections were based on this assumption, which turned out to be hopelessly optimistic. In fact, the average productive shale gas well has a lifetime of 3 – 5 years only.

Based on those initial projections, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and some leasing companies made fortunes. Drilling companies went into huge debt, encouraged by investment banks that made millions in fees. Initially easily accessible gas was produced. However, the wells started drying up far sooner than anticipated and the companies continued to drill more and more wells to meet their production targets, motivated by the cost of loans taken out. They cannot stop, resulting in a glut of gas and the price has plummeted. The selling price of gas at present is roughly half the cost of production, so all shale gas companies are losing money.

The whole thing doesn’t make sense”, said Ms Rogers. “Many of the big players have written down their assets, including BP, Encana and Chesapeake. The Marcellus shale gas reserve estimates are down by 80%. The recovery efficiency for the five major shale gas plays averages 6.5% compared with 75–80% for conventional gas fields. The biggest companies, e.g. Exxon-Mobil, are now selling their assets. Is the shale gas bubble soon going to deflate?”

In the meantime, the drilling frenzy continues with collateral damage in the form of air pollution, ground water depletion, road damages and potential aquifer ruination”, she continued. “This is immense and will only continue to rise as more and more wells need to be drilled. None of these impacts are at present covered financially by the gas companies – in other words, profits are to be privatized while costs and negative impacts will be borne by the people. “

2030 Vision – The Future of Energy in Ireland” conference was organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) to look at the choices of energy sources that Ireland has to make in the future. Speakers included Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party, who gave an inspirational talk on the potential of renewable energy sources, in particular wind energy, to substitute for hydrocarbons. The conference was part-funded by Leitrim County Council through the Agenda 21 programme.