Passing of anti-fracking bill welcomed by ICSA

FARMERS JOURNAL – 28 OCTOBER 2016

The passing of the anti-fracking bill in the Dáil has been welcomed by the ICSA.

On the same day that the Dáil voted to ratify the Paris Agreement, which comes into force next week, it also unanimously passed the anti-fracking bill. Fracking offers no tangible benefits to landowners or rural communities, said ICSA president Patrick Kent, who welcomed the move.

“Fracking provides no upside for farmers but potentially a lot of downside in terms of our clean, green food image,” Kent said. “Instead, we need the Government to strongly favour renewable energy sources which can bring multiple benefits to farmers, the environment and to rural communities, while also helping the economy and climate change objectives.”

Once it becomes law, the Bill, known as Tony McLoughlin’s Bill, will prohibit the extraction of oil and gas from areas in Ireland where it would need to be fracked to be taken out of the ground, such as the shale deposits across Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry.

Kent made the point that this means the Government should support sustainable biofuels, anaerobic digestion, and solar farming.

“This should be straightforward but it’s not,” he said, supporting a review of the pros and cons of a carbon tax, which could be used to raise money for renewables.

“The EU has performed a U-turn on sustainable biofuels, which defies all logic at a time when tillage farmers are at risk of going bust. There is a compelling case to support the use of biofuels from crops grown in Europe, which also provide very positive benefits in terms of animal feeds as a by-product.”