A number of people concerned about the environmental impact of fracking gathered on Farnham street last week a meeting between the mining company and council planers takes place nearby.

Briefing paper raises 'fracking' problems

Two small earthquakes "may have" been connected to drilling by a gas extraction company in the English coastal city of Blackpool, warns a briefing paper drafted to advise an Oireachtas committee of possible problems related to 'fracking' in Cavan and elsewhere. Problems linked to the controversial form of gas extraction known as 'fracking' have been flagged to the Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht in a briefing paper dated this month and seen by The Anglo-Celt. It was compiled in light of the granting of exploration licences in Counties Cavan Fermanagh and Leitrim to two gas companies, Tamboran and LANGCO, and circulated amongst the 26-strong members of the this month. The committee does not have a single deputy from the Cavan Monaghan constituency. The "small earthquakes" reportedly occurred on April 1 and May 27 of this year, but the briefing paper does not definitively confirm whether the earthquakes were related to the fracking. "Where it is being used, it has been alleged that fracking has three flaws," reads the Oireachtas Committee briefing paper: "possible contamination of the water supply; possible contamination of the air; and possible effects on the climate, in the form of greenhouse gas emissions." It notes the arguments cited in international official reports and newspaper articles on both sides of the contentious fracking debate without coming down on either side. Nor does it provide a definitive conclusion on whether it is safe or unsafe. The paper flags up the divergence in opinion in Britain and France after extensive studies were completed. In Britain the House of Commons Energy Committee concluded that they found "no evidence" that fracking poses "a direct risk to underground aquifers [water source for springs and wells] provided the drilling well is constructed properly" and opted to warn the regulatory agencies to "monitor drilling activity extremely closely in its early stages". The briefing paper notes that, in stark contrast, following months of protests across France, the country has banned the technique on the grounds that it threatens to pollute the water table. A documentary revealing desperate problems experienced by residents in a number of American towns exposed to 'fracking' will be screened in Blacklion this week. The Academy Award nominated film Gasland will be shown by Cinema North West at Blacklion's Enterprise Board car park tonight (Wednesday, July 27) at 8pm. Campaigners in West Cavan claim the film gives a valuable insight into the problems that lie ahead for the county. However, Tamboran representatives say that all of the problems highlighted by the film are avoidable and insist that they intend to conduct hydraulic fracturing in West Cavan in a completely safe fashion. Seating is limited for this Blacklion screening. Admission: €8/7. Full details at www.cinemanorthwest.com