EPA Research on Fracking out today at 2pm - Four tests for its credibility
30 Nov 2016
For Immediate Release 30-11-2016
Friends of the Earth
EPA Report on Fracking out at 2pm today
Four tests for its credibility
The long awaited research commissioned by the EPA on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction, or ‘fracking’ will be published today at 2pm.
This research is expected to examine the potential impacts of fracking in Ireland, and comes one month after the Dáil unanimously accepted the principle of banning fracking in Ireland .
Here are 4 tests which should be used to determine if this research can offer a credible contribution to the debate on whether fracking should go ahead in Ireland or not.
- Does the report address how fracking for shale oil or gas in Ireland fits with the national objective of transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy with a reduction in emissions from energy of 80-95% by 2050?
- As the International Energy Agency acknowledges  for global temperatures to remain below 2oC, at least two thirds of the known reserves of fossil fuels must remain unburnt. Does the report address the global impact of every country with shale reserves fracking, and whether this would be compatible with global temperatures remaining below 2oC?
- Does the research explicitly address the risks of fracking to public health as raised in the New York Department of Health report ?
- Does the research explicitly address the risks of fracking to the water environment as raised by the Sustainable Water Network in their research , which concludes that fracking in Ireland would pose a significant risk of serious impacts to the water environment, and that the current legislative and regulatory systems are not fit for the purpose of protecting Ireland’s waters from the risks associated with fracking.
Much controversy has surrounded this research, particularly over the credibility of the research which was principally undertaken by CDM Smith, a consultancy with significant links to the fracking industry. For the results of this research to be considered trustworthy, the EPA must robustly demonstrate that the findings are truly independent.
Ahead of the publication, Kate Ruddock, Deputy Director of Friends of the Earth said,
“The Paris Agreeement commits Governments to keeping global warming well under 2oC, and aiming for 1.5oC. In energy, and in Ireland this means taking steps to ensure our future energy comes from clean, renewable resources. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with extracting and burning fracked oil and gas are as polluting as with coal. Government policy is for a carbon free future. There is no place for fracking in a carbon free future".
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 The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill 2016 was referred by the Dáil to the Select Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment pursuant to Dáil Standing Orders 84A(3)(a) and 141*, having passed second stage on 27th October 2016. http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=33136&&CatID=59
 International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2012 ‘No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal’ http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/weo2012/
 A public Health review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development, New York Department of Health, 2014 http://www.health.ny.gov/press/reports/docs/high_volume_hydraulic_fracturing.pdf
 Craven, K; Kenny, J: et al, 2016. Hydraulic Fracturing – Interactions with the Water Framework Directive and Groundwater Directive and implications for the Status of Ireland’s Waters http://www.swanireland.ie/resources/fracking-report