FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 May 2020
Prominent U.S. anti-fracking campaigners welcomed a recent statement by elected officials from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stating that there is no need for “new large scale fossil fuel infrastructure such as LNG import terminals” in Ireland. The elected officials further stated that they would work to create new economic development in areas where fossil fuel infrastructure was proposed by considering how “strategic investment in the Shannon estuary and port infrastructure could support development of renewable energy”. Their statement was made in response to recent questions by the Green Party as they consider forming a coalition government.
On behalf of Americans Against Fracking, a coalition of hundreds of organizations in the United States, actor Mark Ruffalo said, “Irish elected officials have taken a positive step toward protecting our shared global environment and climate by stating that Ireland does not need new fracked gas LNG import terminals and considering instead to create jobs with renewable energy. The proposed LNG terminals would import fracked gas from the U.S. to Ireland, the extraction of which causes widespread public health and environmental harm. Stopping the LNG terminals will be a relief for many Americans suffering the impacts of fracking as well as those of us working to ban fracking in the U.S. The myth that fracked gas will offer energy security to any nation is now exposed for the fracking industry lie that it is. The financial market for fracked gas is collapsing before our eyes and politicians must turn their attention to bolstering the burgeoning renewable energy industry. Ireland can lead the world on clean energy with renewable energy and efficiency.”
On behalf of the Better Path Coalition of frontline organizations and impacted residents in Pennsylvania, Karen Feridun said, “All across Pennsylvania, fracking has made residents sick. Fracking has contaminated our drinking water and polluted the air we breathe. The Shannon LNG terminal in Ireland would rely on further fracking in Pennsylvania, causing irreparable harm here. Ireland has taken the right step by banning fracking and now it’s taking the next step by moving toward banning import of US fracked gas.”
On behalf of Food & Water Action, Wenonah Hauter said, “The consensus is growing across the Atlantic that fracking and gas infrastructure have no place in a sustainable future. Ireland’s next coalition government needs a strong policy that formally rejects climate hostile gas infrastructure like LNG the way they have rejected fracking. Anything else would simply lock us into more climate chaos, while exporting the dangers of fracking on communities across the world.”
There are two proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import terminals proposed off the West Coast of Ireland in the Shannon Estuary and County Cork. Both would import fracked gas from the United States to Ireland and have been met with local opposition in Ireland as well as internationally. Campaigners in the United States, including actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo, have been active in the campaign with Irish campaigners since October 2019 when Irish groups decried that the the corporation, New Fortress Energy, proposing the fracked gas LNG import terminal in the Shannon River estuary was being included on a list from Ireland to the European Commission called the Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list. The inclusion of the Shannon LNG terminal on this list gives the project special licensing permissions and fast track planning as well as giving New Fortress Access to millions of Euro through the European Union at a time when European countries should be focusing on the Paris Agreement and decarbonizing. Also during this time, another LNG import terminal that would import U.S. fracked gas has been proposed off the coast of County Cork and has been met with local and international opposition.
On April 30th, following a challenge from Irish environmental group, Friends of the Irish Environment, the European Court deemed that the Irish planning body, An Bord Pleanala had been incorrect to issue an extension to planning permission for the proposed LNG terminal in the Shannon Estuary. The site is located within a Special Area of Conservation, and the Court advised that improper environmental assessment has been undertaken at this highly sensitive site.