Government promises on Climate Change and reducing fossil fuel nothing but “hot air” if they refuse to ban fracking

fracking billRichard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance today presented a bill to the Dáil calling for a complete ban on Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) in Ireland.

The bill has been drafted by Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth and Attracta Uí Bhroin, Vice-President An Taisce.

At a press conference today in Buswell’s Hotel, Deputy Boyd Barrett joined with environmental groups and anti-fracking campaigners to outline the details of the Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing Bill 2015.

Speakers at the press conference joining Deputy Boyd Barrett included: Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth, Scott Croombs from Love Leitrim (anti-fracking campaign) and Attracta Uí Bhroin, Vice Chair An Taisce

Deputy Boyd Barrett and other speakers at the press conference said government promises to help tackle climate change, reduce CO2 emissions and move to a more sustainable energy policy, following the Paris Climate summit, could not be taken seriously unless they were matched with actions such as a complete ban on fracking.

Deputy Boyd Barrett introduced the bill in the Dáil after the Order of Business.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Government announcements this week, in the aftermath of the Paris Climate summit, that they are serious about tackling climate change and reducing fossil fuel use, are nothing more than “hot air,” if they don’t immediately ban fracking. How can Minister White’s statement’s yesterday that the government are determined to reduce Ireland’s CO2 emissions, be taken in anyway seriously, if at the same time they allow efforts to commence fracking in this country to progress. If we are serious about tackling run-away climate change we must ban fracking and leave this shale gas in the ground.

It is also deeply disturbing that at the Joint Oireachtas Committee last week, the EPA admitted in response to questions I asked them, that the report they are currently undertaking into fracking would not when it is completed be able to tell us whether fracking represented a danger to human health.  New York has just banned fracking on health grounds. How could fracking be unsafe for human health in New York and safe in Ireland? The truth is, the EPA report into fracking is a sham exercise, hopelessly corrupted by the central involvement of pro-fracking companies such as DKM Smith and AMEC, who are bought and paid for by the big gas and oil companies.”    

Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth said, “In Paris, the world and Ireland committed to limit global warming to well below 2oC.  What that means is no new exploration of fossil fuels and keeping about two thirds of the fossil fuels we know about in the ground.  For Ireland that means no new gas wells, and never fracking.  The science is clear, the global political will has never been greater. The right thing for Ireland to do now, is to making fracking illegal, and focus on the solutions to make Ireland fossil fuel free.”

Scott Croombs, Love Leitrim said, “Fracking is a threat to public health, to the environment, and a significant contributor to climate change. The process has been banned in New York on public health grounds and Ireland should do the same. A rapidly increasing body of peer-reviewed research now proves the risks and harms that fracking does to human health. The Irish government should stop hiding behind the EPA’s flawed study and ban fracking.”

Attracta Uí Bhroin , Vice Chair of An Taisce in commenting on the proposed bill said, “An Taisce, welcomes this joint initiative with FoE and Deputy Boyd Barrett  to provide for a clear and unequivocal statutory prohibition on Fracking, given the nature of the environmental and regulatory concerns there are with Fracking. Just today the experience in the UK where new regulations have been introduced to provide for fracking under some of the UK’s most important heritage and landscape areas, their National Parks – is clear testament to the pressures pertaining and how Government commitments or pre-election promises can’t be relied on. That is why a statutory prohibition is essential. Just days after the Paris climate agreement – this Bill would show Ireland is committed to a major re-think on energy”.