Sunday 19 November 2017

Current study will not address health impact concerns

A current Irish assessment of the impact of fracking is not addressing health concerns.

That's according to anti-fracking campaigner, Eddie Mitchell of the Love Leitrim group.

He addressed a meeting of Sligo County Council last Wednesday along with Nigel McGrath of another anti-fracking group in Fermanagh.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently undertaking a comprehensive study into fracking.

Mr Mitchell told councillors: "There has been 1,350 submissions made to the EPA about fracking, 1,250 of which related to health concerns.

"However, there will be no health impact assessment done.

"There's no one looking at the public health issue.

"If you write a letter on this to the Department of Health they'll refer you to the Department of Energy.

"The EPA research is not considering these issues."

Mr Mitchell added that a US study has warned of cumulative and long term risks associated with fracking.

It could be another year at least before this EPA study is finished.

A preliminary report by the EPA stated that fracking was "not without risk" and recommended further research.

Australian company,Tamboran Resources is exploring the possibility of fracking in North Leitrim and Fermanagh.

The company received a set back recently when it was told it needed planning permission to drill a trial hole at a disused quarry in Belcoo.

This followed an intervention by Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Mark Durkan.

The Minister said it was an Environmental Impact Assessment development requiring full planning permission.

Mr Mitchell told the council meeting at City Hall fear still existed in North Leitrim and Fermanagh and that Minister's Durkan's decision may only be temporary.

He said Tamboran was proposing to drill 3,000 wells.

Mr Mitchell stressed that 5% of all wells drilled leaked initially.

He added that the lifespan of a well was 70 years.

Sligo Champion

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