A single issue, non-affiliated, cross-community network of local people with a peaceful ethos and a positive vision for our county's development, working to raise awareness of the risks associated with shale gas extraction.
A new North-South “We Deserve Better” campaign is being launched today 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.”
For more details and to get involved, visit our We deserve better! page here.
Readers of the Impartial Reporter this week have the opportunity to learn more about what fracking would mean for Fermanagh, in a clear and wide-ranging piece by FFAN chairman Dr. Carroll O’Dolan. For further information on the issues raised by Dr O’Dolan, please see below:
The report from Durham University stating the need for a minimum distance of 600m between a fracking area and aquifer here. (This was confirmed by Professor Peter Styles in a recent debate at Stormont – watch it here.)
New York Times discovery of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s serious concerns about fracking here.
The announcement by the Irish government that they would wait for the research results before issuing new licences here.
For more information about how fracking will affect you, your home, family, job or business, see our series of information flyers here and to find out what you can do about it, click here.
A survey is being carried out about people’s understanding of their ability to influence decision-making about fracking in Ireland. The survey forms part of research for a Masters degree in Energy Management at IT Sligo and consists of ten short questions. Please take the survey here and spread the word to others.
Image from Marcellus Protest, under Creative Commons licence.
The Environmental Protection Agency in the Republic of Ireland has produced a terms of reference document setting out their proposals for a programme of research into “unconventional gas exploration and extraction”. The steering committee for this research includes the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and it will be of great importance on both sides of the border. To read the terms of reference please click here and to make your own submissions about it, please email UGEEconsultation@epa.ie before the deadline of March 8th.
If you are concerned about this issue, as an individual or on behalf of a community group or other organisation, please use this opportunity to make your voice heard. You may wish to write a detailed response or simply to refer to question one on page two; ‘Can this technology be used whilst also fully protecting the environment and human health?’
For more details please read the EPA’s press release below.
A disturbing report about the links between the gas industry and academic institutions, showing how difficult it is to obtain research that is not affected by the industry’s own priorities and interests.
Very best wishes to all, in Fermanagh and beyond, from the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, for a joyful Christmas and a New Year of peace, prosperity and hope. Special thanks to all those friends who have supported our work in 2012 and helped us to raise awareness of what shale gas extraction and frackiing could mean for our beautiful county. Please keep on spreading the word to your friends, your family, your neighbours, community leaders and political representatives.
And over the Christmas break, if you can’t face The Great Escape yet again, why not watch the debate on fracking that was held in Stormont in September? We’ve uploaded most of it to YouTube (watch it in the windows below) and the rest will follow in the New Year.
And finally, here’s an extra viewing of the vitally important part of the debate which shows that fracking in Fermanagh is especially unsafe and should not be permitted. Experts have stated that the separation between a fracking zone and an aquifer should be at least 600 metres. But here, we understand that the proposed distance from the fracking zone to the regionally important aquifer upon which many people’s drinking water depends, is only 500 metres. We think this is an important issue which the people in Fermanagh deserve to know about. If you agree, please share it with others.
Have a merry Christmas and a peaceful and happy New Year.
Fracking Up, the new novel by frackaware.com’s editor Tanya Jones, is now available in paperback from Amazon. It tells the story of a fictional European island faced with shale gas extraction and of what happens when the book’s heroine, Jenny, and her friends start campaigning on the issue. It’s not a heavy book, in any sense; it was described on Amazon as “An enjoyable romance with a serious centre and lots of humour along the way” but we hope that it will help a wider audience to appreciate the likely effects of fracking in populated areas and beautiful landscapes. Tanya is happy to talk about the novel to book groups or at other events – contact her at email@example.com
We’ve heard a lot lately about the possibilites of carbon capture, technologies which, many hope, could be used to remove carbon dioxide generated at power plants and store it underground. But as an article in the prestigious New Scientist journal notes, those plans depend upon the underground storage aquifers being protected by impermeable layers of rock above them. Fracking creates innumerable cracks and fissures in these layers, making secure storage difficult and, across widespread fracked areas, impossible. Read more in the article below.