The bill will be discussed by members of this evenings Dáil meeting and then put forward to the Seanad.
The proposed bill, which received unanimous support in last year’s Dáil and a public consultation earlier this year, has also received over 8,000submissions from people in favour of legislating a ban on fracking in the country. The bill will pass from the Dáil to the Seanad for a final review before finally becoming law.
Fracking as we know is short for hydraulic fracturing, (unconventional gas extraction) and is a highly industrial process involving pumping a mix of water, sand and chemicals under huge pressure into gas bearing rock. Hydraulic Fracturing is a process of extracting oil and gas from the ground where it is held in shale deposits or other tight sandstones as are found across Counties Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal and Clare. Fracking has been carried out for numerous years in the US and other European countries although studies now show the negative impacts on the environment that is associated with fracking.
Recently Three major companies were granted permission and licences to explore for oil and gas across Ireland using fracking methods. This implementation of this Bill would prevent any such extraction.
A recent report by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the main concerns in relation to fracking, that the intention of creating huge cracks could leave water sources open to contamination through natural pollutants. They found that fracking wells can fail and contaminate water supplies, cracks generated during fracking can contaminate ground water which cannot currently be prevented, and wells no longer in production can still leak methane.
The introduction of the bill has been welcomed by ‘Friends of the Earth’. Kate Ruddock, Deputy Director of Friends of Earth, said this of the news “For our land, our health and our climate fracking is not welcome and the passage of this Bill is a testament to the strong public and grassroots opposition to fracking in Ireland. “
She added that “The passing of this Bill marks the first Private Members Bill to make it through the Dáil in the current Government, and as such it is a great example of how ‘new politics’ is working in Ireland.”
Kate Ruddock of ‘Friends of Earth’ continued“We are mindful of Ireland’s commitments in relation to climate change mitigation and a zero carbon energy future. Ireland is currently way off track and carbon emissions from the energy sector continue to rise. When this Bill becomes law Ireland will join a number of progressive countries and states that have already banned fracking, including New York, Bulgaria, France, and Victoria (Australia).”
The proposed bill will be heard in this evenings Dáil between 6:45 and 10;15 p.m.