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Colreavy and Flanagan make submission to the EPA on fracking

8 March, 2013 - by Michael Colreavy TD

Sinn Féin TD, Deputy Michael Colreavy and Sinn Féin MLA, Phil Flanagan, have made a submission to the EPA on the Terms of Reference of a report on fracking. This report is attempting to assess the environmental impact of Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction (UGEE).
Speaking following Sinn Féin submission Deputy Colreavy said:
“Before a decision can be made on whether to allow UGEE in Ireland there must be a full and thorough study of its potential impacts. The precautionary principle must be applied at all stages; therefore the burden of proof falls on the EPA, the legislators and the Government to prove that UGEE is not harmful.
“UGEE does not begin, nor does it end with the injecting of high pressure fluids into the ground. There are many concerns and issues in the lead up to, and after the process, of fracking itself. Sinn Féin have called for issues such as the building of mining sites, the disposal of wastewater and chemical, the impact on agricultural land and the transport aspect to be addressed in this report.
“We welcome the statement by Minister for State, Fergus O’Dowd, that fracking will be put on hold until after the findings of the new EPA research have been published. We call on Minister O’Dowd to honour this commitment and ensure that Tamboran or any other company do not receive an exploration licence prior to the EPA report being published and considered.”
Commenting on the Sinn Féin’s submission Phil Flanagan MLA said:
“It is important for the EPA to bear in mind that this is an all-Ireland study. UGEE cannot be approved south of the border and not be expected to affect north of the border and vice versa. It is the duty of the EPA to ensure that they have listened to the voices from both the 26 counties and the 6 counties.
“Geologists, engineers and scientists are all sufficient in their own area of study; however, none are aptly qualified to determine the impact that UGEE can have on human and animal health. In other countries there have been several reports of a serious impact on human health by the process of fracking. These have ranged from skin and eye sores to respiratory problems. These reports have led to people seriously questioning the risk that UGEE poses to them and to their families.
“The burden of proof lies with the EPA to unquestionably prove that UGEE is safe to use in Ireland. Until such time, fracking should be banned in Ireland.” ENDS

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