Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland – . Majority of MEPs support fracking moratorium in symbolic vote
other press Sunday July 19, 2015 23:09 by No to Fracking
For the first time, a majority of MEPs (338 to 319) has voted in favour of an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Europe in view of its "risks and negative consequences for the climate, the environment, and public health." The MEPs voted in support of Amendment 1 to the Energy Security Strategy report.
However, as the final report as a whole was not adopted, the moratorium on "any new operations involving the exploration or extraction of unconventional fuels within the EU until this is proven to be safe for the environment, citizens, and workers" will not take effect.
While some pro-fracking groups in the European Parliament voted against the amendment and the report as a whole, the European United Left – Nordic Green Left group (GUE/NGL), which voted for the fracking moratorium, opposed the final report on the grounds that it "underlined the importance of nuclear energy" and "moves in the same direction as neoliberal policies."
The votes of Irish MEPs on the fracking moratorium amendment were as follows:
- For: Boylan (SF), Carthy (SF), Flanagan (Ind), Harkin (Ind), Ni Riada (SF)
- Against: Childers (Ind), Clune (FG), Hayes (FG), McGuinness (FG), Kelly (FG)
- Absent: Crowley (FF)
Despite the defeat of the final report, the vote in favour of an EU moratorium on unconventional fossil fuel exploration and extraction is considered "a milestone for the European anti-fracking movement"
by the environmental group Food & Water Europe, whose director Geert De Cock commented: "Today’s vote in the Parliament provides a clear indicator that the public acceptance for the fracking industry is crumbling across the EU."
Adding its voice to those calling for an EU-wide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is the CHEM Trust, a UK charity that investigates the risks caused by chemicals to human health and wildlife. On June 20, 2015, the CHEM Trust published a new scientific study
which highlights the risks of water, land, and air pollution
from fracking, as well as the risks to oil and gas workers and to wildlife
. It makes 18 recommendations, such as full disclosure of all chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations and the requirement of an Environmental Impact Assessment for all sites