Councillor Ross Brown condemns political failure to stop fracking in Fermanagh

22 July 2014
Green Party researcher and Councillor for East Belfast, Ross Brown, has today condemned the move by Tamboran Resources to prepare for test drilling in Fermanagh, and the failure of Northern Ireland’s politicians to put a hold on the process. The drilling, which will establish what reserves of gas are held in the shale formation, are a key first step on the road to full extraction.

Speaking today, Cllr Brown said: ‘I condemn the failure of politicians to stop fracking in Northern Ireland in the strongest possible terms. Sinn Fein in particular have been vocal opponents of fracking in the Republic yet, when they had the opportunity to sign a Green Party petition in the NI Assembly to refer the decision by NI Energy minister Arlene Foster to the Northern Ireland Executive for review, they refused to do so.

‘We don’t want to be the guinea pigs for Europe. The French and German governments have put a hold on any fracking exploration, but our own government are so invested in fossil fuels that they’re driving ahead without any examination of the risks. Professor Richard Davies of Durham University recommends a minimum depth of 1.2km for fracking wells, but the shale under Fermanagh is only 600m down. Any drilling poses a serious risk to underground aquifers and contamination of our drinking water. This is probably the worst place in Ireland you could drill for gas.

‘The economics and environmental arguments simply don’t stack up. After racking up quick profits, the wells soon run dry, the companies move on, and communities are left counting the cost. A recent study also revealed that methane emissions from fracking wells are 100 to 1000 times higher than previous American EPA estimates, and the practice is therefore not compatible with the emissions reductions necessary to curb climate change. Northern Ireland’s politicians need to stand up now and put a halt to this drilling before any more damage is done’.

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