Bad News: The major disappointment in the final Terms of Reference for the EPA-led research study is that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is not included in the work of the study. This was demanded by many of the submissions made to the EPA and GEAI will start a campaign now to get commitment to a HIA before any decision is taken on exploratory licencing.
Bad News: No further involvement by the community is envisaged before the research study is finalised despite interim and draft final stages being described in the Terms of Reference. This is not good enough! The quality of the submissions was very high and proved that public consultation is well worth while. The consultation we have had, although a step in the right direction, is not enough. The public MUST be involved at every stage of this extremely important study, including Community representation on the steering committee.
Good News: As a result of public demand, a representative from the HSE will be invited on to the Steering Committee. Also, human health now has a bigger place in the scope of the study. This good news is diluted of course by the absence of HIA.
Good News: It is now clarified that the whole life cycle of fracking will be included in the study – from pad construction to abandonment of wells and reclamation of land. The treatment of wastewater gets more attention and Air Monitoring procedures will be detailed.