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'You're poisoning people' - Actor Mark Ruffalo says supporting Shannon fracked gas plans is killing Americans



Mark Ruffalo (Ian West/PA)

Mark Ruffalo (Ian West/PA)

Mark Ruffalo (Ian West/PA)

Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo has said Ireland will be responsible for killing American children if the controversial Shannon LNG project goes ahead.

Mr Ruffalo, a long-time climate action campaigner and opponent of fracking, has joined 40 other activists and groups in Ireland and the United States in calling on the Government to withdraw support from the plan before the deadline for finalising its inclusion on an EU priority project list passes on Wednesday.

In a press conference held by phone from the US, Mr Ruffalo said Ireland would be hypocritical to import fracked gas from Pennsylvania in the US to Shannon after banning fracking here for health and safety reasons.

“I want to speak particularly about the harm you’re doing to your brothers and sisters here in America,” he said.

“The one thing is that we all have come to realise is that climate change is a global issue and that what you do there affects us here, that all the boundaries and ideas of a country and a city or a state are all obliterated in the face of climate change.

“I have been to the communities that you guys will be extracting from and you are literally killing people and you’re poisoning people.

“You are creating what the oil and gas industry themselves call sacrificial zones where there are sacrificial human beings to bring you the gas that you believe you need for a quick fix that isn’t going to fix the long-term problems of energy.”

Mr Ruffalo urged Ireland to recall its own experience of being exploited in the past.

“I implore you to think for the future, think for the children, think for the people who are immediately being harmed here in the United States and do the right thing here,” he said.

“Irish people have always been so thoughtful and so courageous and have earned that through the fights and struggles that your people have made.

“You know what it’s like to be at the receiving end of a system that’s unfair and looks at you as sacrificial and that’s what you’re doing to Pennsylvania.”

Mr Ruffalo said the argument that Ireland needed to have new sources of imported gas to ensure energy security did not add up.

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“It’s going to take you two years to build this. In that time, you could start building out solar and you could start building out wind projects that will employ so many more people, that will keep your energy dollars in your own country instead of sending them away to the United States and it will give you energy security,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous that you would think that that would give you energy security because all that has to happen is one major storm or that a country as craven as the United States is becoming these days would just say hey, you know what, it’s not in our energy security interests to send it to you.

“So you’re at the whim of the United States which is increasingly becoming more and more unstable and unreliable on the world stage. So I would say if you’re serious about energy security, then you do it in your country with the resources that you already have available to you.”

Shannon LNG has been included in the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list which provides a streamlined planning process and the possibility of EU grants for energy projects deemed important for the EU as a whole.

A letter sent to all members of the Dail and European Parliament on Monday asks that it be removed from the list on the grounds that fracking is a danger to health, developing fossil fuel infrastructure contradicts climate action policy and the project will serve only Ireland and no other EU country.

The Department of Climate Action said while the Government supported the project’s inclusion on the PCI list, it had made clear it would not support any funding application until the project had been subject to a sustainability review.

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