Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has pledged her support for anti-Fracking campaigners in Ireland.
Martina Anderson commented:
“The Environment Committee, on which I sit, voted today on an update to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. One of the key amendments to which I gave my support sought to introduce the inclusion of the extraction of unconventional fossil fuels under this directive.
“Currently, only projects which produce at least 500,000 cubic metres (m3) of gas daily have to undergo Environmental Impact Assessments. Given that unconventional gas projects emissions tend to be highly variable and produce less gas (between 115,000 and 250,000 m3 of gas) and yet may have as serious an environmental impact as conventional gas extraction, it is critical that we ensure that the impact on the environment is fully considered and fully compliant with EIA before any extraction project is approved.
“There are various health and environmental risks related to the extraction of shale gas including; contamination of ground water, high water use, high use of toxic chemicals, air and noise pollution, emissions of pollutants and even earthquakes amongst others. It is therefore crucial that we close the regulatory gaps which exist for Fracking operations within the EU.
“We only have to look to America to see the potential dangers of not closely regulating shale gas operations. The voices of the local communities who live near these potential drilling sites and who are therefore more at risk of the negative consequences must be listened to.”