Dáil Éireann: Bill to ban fracking unanimously passed first stage of approval in Irish Parliament


Ireland Takes Major Step Towards Nationwide Fracking Ban by Lorraine Chow, October 27, 2016, Ecowatch

A bill banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Republic of Ireland was voted through the Dáil Éireann (the country’s House of Representatives, so to speak) on Thursday.

According to the Irish Examiner, the bill’s passage is “the first step in enforcing a nationwide ban on fracking and it will give the Government 12 weeks before it goes before further parliamentary scrutiny.” The bill has now been moved to the committee stage for further review.

… The bill, The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill, was introduced by Dáil member Tony McLoughlin, TD of the Fine Gael party. McLoughlin currently represents Sligo-Leitrim, a constituency that has been marked for potential shale gas exploration.

The legislation initially faced a potential eight-month delay to allow for Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency to issue a report on fracking, but the Government ultimately decided not to table the proposal.

During a televised debate over the bill, a number of speakers—across parties, no lesspassionately argued that unconventional oil and gas operations have significant adverse effects, including its threat to human health, that it pollutes water and drives climate change, and would hamper Ireland’s emissions targets.

Oisin Coghlan, the director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, live tweeted the entire debate.






… Actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo also threw his weight behind the Irish bill with an Instagram post.

“Ireland should ban #fracking to protect public health & the environment, like New York did after finding serious risks & harms,” he stated.

The clean energy advocate included a photo of himself holding a sign with the hashtag #backthebill, which has been used on social media to rally support for the ban. [Emphasis added]

2015 03 17 Farming Not Fracking button Ireland gave Ernst in 2013 gr backgrd

Ireland’s “Farming Not Fracking” pin.

‘Major Win for Environment’: Bill to Ban Fracking in Ireland Moves Forward, Bill approved by nation’s House of Representatives as environmental advocates celebrate progress by Nadia Prupis, October 27, 2016, Common Dreams

A bill in Ireland to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, passed the first stage of approval on Thursday as lawmakers voted it through the country’s House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann).

According to the Irish Examiner, several attempts by opponents to delay or block the bill from being heard failed. It was introduced to parliament by Fine Gael backbench Teachta Dála (TD) Tony McLoughlin, who responded on Twitter, “A major win for the environment & for Irish politics!” [Emphasis added]

Ireland Votes to Ban Fracking Press Release by Friends of the Earth, October 27, 2016, Common Dreams

Reacting to the news that a bill to ban fracking has passed the first stage of approval in the Irish Parliament, Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

 “This Bill is the result of years of grassroots campaigning, with people across the country raising awareness of the many dangers of the fracking industry and forcing their representatives to act.

“Support for fracking across the UK is at an all time low. People just don’t want this dirty, dangerous industry. We are confident that when the Scottish people are given a chance to have their say in the forthcoming Government consultation, the answer will be a resounding ‘no’ to fracking.”

The private members bill to ban onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction was put forward by Fine Gael backbench TD Tony McLoughlin. It cites international and national climate commitments, the precautionary principle and protecting groundwater as the key reasons to ban fracking.

Earlier this week a report by the Sustainable Water Network was published highlighting the many threats posed to Ireland’s waters by the fracking process, wastewater discharges and leaking and abandoned wells. The report recommended banning fracking to protect Ireland’s water.

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world. [Emphasis added]

Leitrim TD  Tony McLoughlin brings anti-fracking legislation to the Dáil
by Claire McGovern, 27 Oct 2016, Leitrim Observer

Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, and Assistant Whip to the Fine Gael Party, Tony Mc Loughlin, has welcomed the introduction of his anti-fracking legislation in Dáil Éireann this week.

“After many years of hard work and engagement with local stakeholders, I am delighted to present my anti-fracking legislation in the Dáil this week.

“I have been extremely concerned for a very long time about the damage and harm that fracking could cause in Ireland, and my Dáil Private Members Bill aims to prevent this.

“The Bill entitled, ‘The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016’, has been accepted by Government, which is very welcome.

“It provides for a clear and unequivocal position in relation to the exploration and extraction of petroleum from shale rock, tight sands and coal seams on the Irish onshore and also in our internal waters. This Bill does not seek to simply ban the technology associated with ‘fracking’, rather it seeks to ban the act of taking oil and gas out of the ground, where usually fracking would be needed.

“I am hopeful that with cross party support for my Bill, it will pass through Second Stage in the Dáil this evening. It will then progress to the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Change and Environment for further scrutiny.” [Emphasis added]

Fracking ban receives cross-party support by Press Association, October 27, 2016, Belfast Telegraph

A proposed nationwide ban on fracking has cleared its first hurdle.

Cross-party TDs backed legislation put forward by Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim Tony McLoughlin to outlaw drilling for shale gas from rocks, sands and coal seams across the country.

Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, warned that the proposed legislation may not achieve what is intended due to the complexities of gas exploration.

But he added: “To be quite clear, there is no great strategic imperative or agenda by Government to pursue the use of fracking.”

“The primary aim, as legislators, is to ensure that we give proper consideration to the issues and evidence, avoid unintended consequences, and provide legal clarity.”

Even though the Government tried unsuccessfully to stall the legislation for eight months, potentially delaying an outright ban until 2018, Mr Naughten said it was ” another step in protecting Ireland’s environment and future”.

It is understood the minority Government cancelled proposals to stall the legislation until next June after Fianna Fail warned it would [not] support any delay.

Mr McLoughlin said agreement on the legislation was “a major win for the environment and for Irish politics”.

… Mr McLoughlin, whose constituency is in one of the three regions identified for potential shale gas exploration, sought to ban energy companies trying to extract raw fuels from shale rocks, tight sands and coal seams.

… The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commissioned a report on the impact of the controversial gas extraction on the environment and human health. It is due in the coming months.

The proposals to ban fracking will now be passed to an Oireachtas committee for further scrutiny within 12 weeks.

Friends of the Earth Ireland described the cross party support for the legislation as ” a crucial step to ban fracking”.

Eamon Scanlon, Fianna Fail TD for Sligo-Leitrim, said: “We were supporting the bill as it was. There was no question about that.

“And I would like to see a ban in the next year.” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2016 10 20: Government withdraws motion to delay frac ban! Ireland: “This is our time to make history,” says Love Leitrim’s Eddie Mitchell. Bill to ban fracking to be debated in the Dáil October 27, 2016 ]

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