Fracking: ‘We argued and protested. We met at marts and concerts. We persisted and we succeeded’
This was never just about Leitrim though, or even climate change. It was about the health of communities, writes Scott Coombs.
A BAN ON fracking on the Irish onshore cleared its last major hurdle on Wednesday May 31, when the Dáil passed a Bill to amend the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act.
The Bill prohibits fracking in the Irish onshore and its internal waters for both exploration and extraction. Minister Denis Naughten, expects the bill to become law before the summer recess.Back in August 2011, six months after Brian Cowen’s government fell, things looked very different. We were respectful, but firm. And that’s how things have played out over the past six years. We participated, we resisted. We argued and protested. We persuaded, we persisted and we succeeded.
Letter to FF TD’s bij Fracking Free Ireland -Brussels
FF support the anti fracking bill, but also support the CETA,
Dear Fianna Fáil TDs,
It has come to my attention that your party has introduced a Private Member’s Motion in support of CETA which will be debated in the Dáil this Tuesday evening, June 20.
It is hugely disappointing that one day before the legislation banning fracking is to be voted on by the Seanad that Fianna Fáil TDs – many of whom have spoken out against fracking praising the work of grassroots groups – should now seek to undermine these efforts. For those of you not yet aware, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada includes an investment protection mechanism granting rights to investors to sue states that choose to introduce policies or regulations protecting the public interest should these pose a threat to investors’ projected profits. Read more in this report: https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/ceta-trading_away_democracy-2016en.pdf
What’s a Frack Ban For? For Country, Security, Public Health, Safe Food & Drinking Water! For Communities, Farm & Family and Democracy! What Does Fracking Bring? Lots of Permanent Harms, Eradication of Long Term Jobs, “Widespread industrialisation, permanent environmental degradation, and severe damage to public health.”
The fracking ban bill was discussed in the Irish Seanad (read transcription below)
Cross-party support guaranteed and the need for a ban in Northern Ireland was raised.
David Norris raised questions regarding the wording
:” There are a number of aspects of the Bill that are difficult.
- The definition of “hydraulic fracturing” is narrow and weak. It allows for the possibility of the fracking industry developing new techniques that are not covered by this legislation.
- The definition of “internal waters” is inadequate. It does not cover service water or groundwater. There is a proposed sanction of a six month prison sentence for offenders, but where is the policing mechanism? There is no policing mechanism at all, which is also worrying.
- There is an absence of a definition of “land”. There is a very comprehensive definition of land in the EU habitats directive. Why could this not have been put into the legislation? Internal waters are listed but it does not specify groundwater at all. This is also worrying. Many people have lobbied me on this matter and they have raised these concerns. It is important we get the ban on fracking because without it, these operations will continue in places such as Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Clare and other parts of Ireland. We must be very careful.
- Climate change was mentioned.”
Sinn Féin Senator clearly for expansion of ban on offshore fracking at a later stage:
Green Party Senator raised climate change problem, asked for a clear Irish path towards 100% Clean Energy Ireland and said that a LNG terminal at Shannon – which aims at importing US fracked hydrocarbons – cannot be supported.
We now look forward to the next steps in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Next Tuesday the Committee Stage in the Seanad will follow.
Hope was expressed that bill could be signed before summer break.
A Fine Gael anti-fracking Bill is the first Private Members’ Bill to be passed by the current Dáil.
Deputy Tony McLoughlin, who represents Sligo-Leitrim, said his Bill will protect hundreds of thousands of people from the effects of hydraulic fracking.
Speaking following its passing, Deputy McLoughlin said: “This Bill will ensure that the environment and communities in the West and North West of Ireland are protected from the effects of hydraulic fracking, so this is a special moment for me and the people I was elected to represent.
Shelved plans for a €500m gas terminal on the Shannon have been revived as a result of Brexit, with PwC mandated to find a buyer to fund the huge Shannon LNG project at Balylongford, close to Tarbert.
The site has planning in place for a deep-water jetty, storage facilities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and connections to the Irish national gas network.
Back in October, the Dáil voted to ban fracking. Total ban. End of story…. But sadly it’s not the end of the story. This article in the current Phoenix describes the trickery that FG and civil servants have been using to delay the Bill’s passage through committee stage. After that is still has to go back to the Dáil for another vote and then the Seanad.