Fine Gael TD for Sligo – Leitrim and Assistant Fine Gael Whip, Tony McLoughlin, said yesterday that the findings in the newly released EPA Integrated Synthesis Report justifies his anti-fracking legislation, which he introduced in Dáil Éireann in October.
“The report into the use of ‘Fracking’ in Ireland were published this afternoon by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “The research was undertaken by a consortium of independent organisations, including the British Geological Survey, University College Dublin and Ulster University." Deputy McLoughlin stated.
“It looked in detail at the potential impacts of Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction (UGEE) on water, seismicity and air quality.
“The study acknowledged there were three main impacts where data and/or experience wasn't sufficient to establish a reliable assessment of the consequences of fracking. These included the possible pollution of groundwater supplies due to the failure of gas well integrity; the potential increase in the migration of gas and pollutants as a result of the hydraulic fracturing process and the possible impact of gas emissions as a result of the fracking.
“The study noted that these concerns would require clarification before environmental protection and human health can be ensured."
The Sligo based TD continued, “The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten has said that he believes the Report's findings justify the continuing prohibition on the licensing of hydraulic fracturing in this country. He said there are concerns particularly on such matters as long term well integrity; the potential release of toxic chemicals from the ground; and the significant and considerable potential implications that the use of this technology may have on people in rural communities as a consequence of the spatially dispersed pattern of housing in rural areas.
“Minister Naughten says the report provides the robust underpinning for decision making on this issue of public concern and I believe it justifies the introduction of my anti-fracking legislation, entitled, ‘The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016’.
“My legislation provides for a clear and unequivocal position in relation to the exploration and extraction of petroleum from shale rock, tight sands and coal seams on the Irish onshore and also in our internal waters. The Bill does not seek to simply ban the technology associated with ‘Fracking’, rather it seeks to ban the act of taking oil and gas out of the ground, where usually fracking would be needed.
“I have been extremely concerned for a very long time about the damage and harm that onshore ‘Fracking’ could cause in Ireland, and it is my firm hope that my Dáil Private Members Bill will prevent this type of exploration from ever occurring in Ireland,” concluded Deputy McLoughlin