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Carthy reiterates call for Fracking ban

16 September, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has reiterated his call on the Irish government to introduce a complete ban on the practise of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking).  Carthy was speaking after a response to a written question he submitted revealed that the European Commission has not ruled out an EU-wide ban on the process.

Mr Carthy said,

"I highlighted to the Commission a recent study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh revealed that women living near high-density unconventional gas drilling (UGD) were more likely to have babies with lower birth weights than women living further from drilling sites.

"As if we needed another reason to be fundamentally opposed to the practise, this is yet another concerning factor associated with hydraulic fracturing.

"Upon asking the Commission to consider the findings of this report when analysing EU policy on the practise of Fracking, the Commission confirmed that recent scientific information on environmental and public health impacts and risks of hydrocarbons exploration or extraction using hydraulic fracturing will be considered in this exercise.

"Following my questioning for an update around their view as to whether an EU-wide ban is warranted the Commission have not ruled out such a measure.

"Given that the Commission has confirmed that they will be taking recent scientific information into consideration and knowing all evidence which proves the negative impact fracking has on the environment and the health of the people close to drilling sites it appears very possible to me that the Commission will eventually call for an EU wide ban.

"However, the Irish government cannot sit on their hands and wait for such a move.  They should be proactive in ensuring that such a ban is put in place in Ireland immediately.  Certainly I, along with my Sinn Féin colleagues in the European Parliament and across the island of Ireland, remain committed in our opposition of fracking north and south" he concluded. ENDS

 Note to Editors

Full text of Written Question and Commission response below.

Question for written answer E-011714/2015 to the Commission

Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)

Subject:       Hydraulic fracturing

A new peer-reviewed study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh[1], who analysed southwestern Pennsylvania birth records, has revealed that women living near high-density unconventional gas drilling (UGD) were more likely to have babies with lower birth weights than women living farther from drilling sites. The babies of mothers living near UGD sites were also more likely to be small for their gestational age. The study reviewed the records of 15 451 live births in southwest Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2010. While the clinical significance of the findings is unclear, according to the researchers, they ‘further emphasise the need for larger studies in regio-specific fashion, with more precise characterization of exposure over an extended period of time to evaluate the potential public health significance of UGD.’

In view of this:

Will the Commission consider the findings of this report when analysing EU policy on the practise of hydraulic fracturing (fracking)?

Has the Commission formed a view as to whether an EU-wide ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is warranted?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission (15.9.2015)

The Commission is currently reviewing the effectiveness of Commission Recommendation 2014/70/EU[2] to Member States laying down minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Recent scientific information on environmental and public health impacts and risks of hydrocarbons exploration or extraction using hydraulic fracturing will be considered in this exercise.

Building on the results of this review, the Commission will decide whether it is necessary to take any further action.


[1]    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0126425

[2]     http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014H0070&from=EN

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