An amendment of the Petroleum and Minerals Act 1960 has been brought to the floor of the Dáil byand publicised as a ban on fracking. The approach is to redefine Petroleum as “does not include any gas extracted through unconventional gas exploration and extraction methods “. If this bill was passed, any petroleum licences for exploration or extraction of natural gas by fracking would not be permitted.
“I welcome any initiative to look for legislation to ban fracking. However, I have a problem with this amendment, first published in 2013,” said Leslie O’Hora, Green Party candidate for Sligo/Leitrim and member of GEAI. “The wording does not include oil, which is a major omission, given the current drilling in north Belfast, expressly looking for oil deposits. Legislation based on this bill could allow fracking to extract oil”.
“In my view, and the view of other anti-fracking campaigners, any legislation banning fracking must be mirrored north and south. We are one island and the oil and gas industries know no border. In Northern Ireland, proposals to use unconventional methods (“fracking”) to extract oil are currently being explored.”
“I also have a problem with the terms “unconventional”. There is no standard definition of this and the industry changes definitions all the time. This term would need to be defined carefully if it was to be used in legislation. In fact, the Green Party position is that ALL exploration and extraction of on-shore petroleum (including oil and gas) should be prohibited in the context of Climate Change and our obligations under the Paris Agreement.”