Oireachtas committee report a boost for McLoughlin’s anti-fracking Bill

An Oireachtas committee says it’s not convinced that fracking could go ahead without having harmful effects on the environment and on human health.

In its report just published, the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environemnt says it would be irresponsible to allow fracking to go ahead in Ireland.

The report, released yesterday in Leinster House, says this is especially the case when there appears to be a lack of knowledge in relation to two study areas under consideration, one being in the North West.

The committee says it is not possible to predict the effect fracking may have on the areas involved.

In relation to air quality, it notes the Environmental Protection Agency recommends further research into fracking activities and its affects on health.

The Joint Committee notes that according to research by the EPA, there is reason for concern in relation to potential impacts and mitigation measures.

Among the fears it lists are surface spills and leaks, groundwater contamination and uncertainty about the amount of long-term greenhouse gas emissions.

The committee has been examining the anti-fracking Bill that has been promoted by Sligo/Leitrim Fine Gael Deputy Tony McLoughlin.

That bill had been referred to the committee for scrutiny.

The committee now says that in certain sections, the wording of the Bill should be revised to ensure that its objectives are achieved.

The committee chairman, Deputy Hillegarde Naughton, has thanked Deputy McLoughlin for sponsoring the Bill.

She says the committee accepts there may be economic advantages and improved energy security from fracking.

But she adds that these benefits are outweighed by risks to the environment and human health from what the committee describes as ‘an as yet relatively untried technology.’

Deputy McLoughlin himself told Ocean FM the committee’s support in its report is a major boost to his Bill on its way to becoming law.