Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, is encouraging members of the public who have an interest in the fracking debate in Ireland, to make a submission to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, before the 2nd February 2017 deadline. The Committee is now inviting public submissions on the issue.
“Since I was first elected in 2011, it has been made very clear to me that local people do not want the process of fracking to be permitted to occur in their localities, due to fears about the environment, farming and potential effects to their public health and drinking water. This is why, in 2016, I saw an opportunity to take action on this issue by tabling a Private Members Bill which aims to ban Fracking in this country.
“Much to my delight my Bill was selected for debate in the Dáil in October 2016 and it was then supported unanimously by both the Government and every other political party in Dáil Éireann. It really was an amazing win for Irish politics and the environment.
“The debate on the Bill, titled, the 'Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016', was the first time that Dáil Éireann ever had the opportunity to debate this very serious issue. This was an important milestone, as it set out clearly the tone of the national sentiment towards fracking in Ireland."
Deputy McLoughlin continued, “In my view my Bill 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. This 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.
“The Bill was referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment by the Dáil in October 2016. The Committee has now decided to undertake a detailed scrutiny, including a public consultation, of the provisions of my bill, together with the EPA led Joint Research Programme on the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on the Environment and Human Health.
“The Committee is inviting submissions and I would appeal to anyone who has an interest in this area to make their views known. Submissions should be received not later than Thursday, 2nd February 2017 at the email address: Fracking@oireachtas.ie
“The Committee will consider any suitable written submissions received and may decide to invite a number of contributors to public hearings should it be considered necessary.
“I have been extremely concerned for a very long time about the damage and harm that fracking could cause in Ireland, and it is my firm hope that my Bill will prevent this. I would encourage everyone with a view on this important topic to contact the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action and Environment,”concluded Deputy McLoughlin.