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WHAT IS FRACKING?
Hydraulic fracturing (or Fracking) is a process of injecting an average of 5.5 million of gallons of chemicals, water and sand at extremely high pressure into gas wells in order to fracture shale rocks and release methane gas.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH FRACKING?
Many of the chemicals used in the process are highly toxic and fluid that returns to the surface is also contaminated with toxic heavy metals and can pick up radioactive substances.
As the gas is stored in rocks, the process requires the development of hundreds of gas wells in close proximity with as many as 6 gas pads per km2.
There is therefore a multiplied and far higher risk of an accident, leak or other form of environmental contamination.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN OTHER PLACES?
This reality has proven to be the case and since the rollout of the technique across the country in the mid 2000s across the USA, there have been thousands of complaints that the process has resulted in drinking and ground water contamination, serious levels of air pollution and heightened levels of radioactivity.
CAN IT AFFECT FARM ANIMALS?
There have also been many recorded incidents where farm animals have been exposed to these fracking chemicals.
On one occasion in the US, for example, the release of fracking fluids into an adjacent pasture killed 17 cows in one hour.
IS IT HAZARDOUS?
The extent to which the dangers associated the process of hydraulic fracturing remain unknown were recently highlighted in one academic journal which stated: 'Communities living near hydrocarbon gas drilling operations have become de facto laboratories for the study of environmental toxicology.'
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF FRACKING IN NORTHERN IRELAND?
In Northern Ireland, and despite a call from the NI Assembly to do so, the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment has not decided to introduce a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
One company, Tamboran Resources, has now publically stated that they plan to bring this process to the Lough Allen Basin in Fermanagh & Leitrum and build up to 9000 gas wells across Ireland.
The Green Party is extremely concerned that hydraulic fracturing presents a very real risk to agriculture and environment.
In recognizing the ‘danger to water, food, farmland’, the National Union of Farmers in Canada and Agri South Africa who have both called for a halt to fracking.
Our view is also shared by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Northern Ireland, which has publically stated that hydraulic fracturing should not take place until it can be proven to be safe.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD?
Due to the problems associated with the process, fracking has been banned in France, Bulgaria & Vermont. South Africa, Quebec, New York State, New Jersey & North Rhine Westphalia have all also introduced moratoria.
The Governments in Germany, Czech Republic & Romania have all now indicated that they too now plan to put a halt on the process.
We believe that Northern Ireland should take note of the problems that have arisen in the USA as a result of hydraulic fracturing follow the example set by the responsible Government’s across the world and impose an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
For more information on hydraulic fracturing please read the following documents:
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