Jessica Ernst packs hall at Ballroom of Romance by Press Officer Love Leitrim, March 6, 2012, mylocalnews
They used to come from far and wide on bicycles to the iconic Ballroom of Romance, in its heyday in the 1950′s according to my aunt who went there. But this was no social outing that saw a full house of up to 350 people on Friday 24th February spilling out the door. Local men in the doorway strained to hear the words of the speaker as if their lives depended on it.
This was part of a series of lectures by Jessica Ernst around the North West. This one was organised by the local community with Cllr Sean Mc Dermot [now Chair of Leitrim County Council] introducing and Mary Daly Chairing. Jessica Ernst had been invited to give first hand testimony of her experiences with the gas industry, in Alberta Canada. One by one this amicable scientist exploded myths rolled out by the gas companies through statistical evidence that she had compiled over the years, on what she called the “fracing experiment’ that has become hers and her communities life.
She had learnt alot about promises, and knows now not to take the promises made by gas industry and regulators at face value.
Rural people tend to be “gentle and trusting,” she said and they preyed on this. Many of these promises had an all too familiar ring to them in light of the proposed and controversial granting of licences to the gas industry in the area she held the podium…. Albertans were now beginning to stand up and speak out and she no longer was on her own. Visible resistance by farmers more obvious with trucks painted with antifracking slogans. The National Farmers Union representing thousands of farmers across Canada were as of 23rd of February 2012 calling for a moratorium. They speak up for those whose water has been polluted that have been gagged shouting about it because of confidentiality agreements signed with the companies.
The men at the door were straining as if there lives depended on it, because it did. It would be their turn now to speak out.
Jessica Ernst being interviewed at the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance before her talk.
“The EPA can’t assess fracking in Leitrim” – Jessica Ernst by Leitrim Observer, March 6, 2012
Photo Leitrim Observer: Jessica Ernst addressing the meeting in the Bush Hotel where she gave a talk on Life inside a Frac Experiment.
“We were promised what happened in North America would not happen here – we have the best – world class regulators.” So what happened? According to Jessica the water got contaminated. But the Government says “It was just natural.”
“It is not what you know you should be concerned about, it is what you don’t know” she warned….
More importantly Ms Ernst said we need to look at the importance of our national water supply. She said clean water is becoming an expensive resource. “What is it worth to you?” she asked.
Fracking information meeting brings large crowd to the Clarion A Canadian ecologist Sligo Weekender, March 1, 2012
“I’ve been volunteering to warn people and Government research in Canada on how bad gas migration is into ground water and I’m an ordinary citizen. “I don’t get paid for this, this is not my job, this is the job of our Government. We pay our Government to protect the people and our environment and the future for our children, but I’m finding with the unconventional gas development everywhere, the Government and the regulator are protecting the polluters. “And the big message I have in my experience is when you are fracked there’s no after care. You’re completely abandoned. [Emphasis added]
Breaking up is hard to do by Thomas Crosbie Media Ltd., March 11, 2012
Some, even in the scientific community, remain suspicious of the claims of fracking proponents. Tony Ingraffea is a professor of engineering at Cornell University. He has done significant research into the effects of fracking. Asked about the pro-fracking argument, that there is no proven case of the procedure causing contamination of drinking water, he half-suppresses a laugh. “They buy off the offended party, and there’s a gagging order — that’s what happens,” he says, not referring to any single company. “Is there an example, in the public domain, of a well being contaminated? No. But I am absolutely convinced that there are examples of it in lawyers’ files and in the files of the gas companies.”…
Ernst argues that Ireland should “do a conservative socio-economic assessment of what Ireland stands to lose — in current jobs, industry, your infrastructure, your health. And even the water itself. What is the value of Ireland’s rivers and loughs? Often in these things, we look at the supposed short-term gains, but we don’t look at what we put at risk.” When asked what she would suggest as a course of action for Ireland on fracking, her message is simple: wait. “The best advice I can give to people in Ireland is that the wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Watch the mistakes happen everywhere else,” she says. [Emphasis added]
Jessica Ernst in front of Tawnylust, Leitrim Co, Republic of Ireland, passive solar B&B where she was hosted during part of her 2012 speaking tour
Jessica Ernst at Prince Conaills Grave near Kiltyclogher in Leitrim Co, Republic of Ireland