Open letter to Minister Pat Rabbitte concerning hydraulic gas fracturing ("fracking") in Ireland

Dear Minister Pat Rabbitte,

Unfortunately we had to read that you granted an onshore Licensing Option for hydraulic gas fracturing to Tamboran Resources PTY Ltd over parts of Cavan Leitrim and Sligo last year.

Hydraulic gas fracturing, known as "fracking" has not only a worse carbon footprint than coal, it poses several severe risks to human health and environment. I will cite a few of the overwhelming amount of expertise done on this subject:

TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.) has found out that far more than 500 different chemicals are used in the fracking procedure. Many of them very toxic and carcinogenic. The "associated pollution has reached the stage where it is contaminating essential life support systems - water, air, and soil - and causing harm to the health of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation".

Many health professionals in the US have recently sent an open letter to the Governor of the State of New York addressing long-term health effects as a result of hydraulic fracturing (also => NY DEC Takes on Fracking and Industry Issues: Putting the Heat on Gas).

But fracking is also causing earthquakes, up to level 4 on the Richter Scale.

=> Fracking DID cause ELEVEN earthquakes in Ohio last year
=> Ohio magnitude 4.0 earthquake linked to fracking
=> Fracking company blamed for earthquakes comes to the Home Counties (UK)
=> UK Fracking Firm Admits They Are Causing Earthquakes

The gas industry can no more deny that.

We also had to read that you announced that Aberdeen University will carry out an EIA for the EPA which in my view is unacceptable as Aberdeen University is showing a conflict of interest due to ties with and sponsorship by the oil and gas industry (=> Aberdeen website Students benefit from Shell support,

The Councils of the involved counties, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Fermanagh, Clare and Donegal are all unanimously passing a motion to ban fracking in their counties. I am questioning why you are seemingly ignoring the will of the vast majority of the people there.

The study,
Impacts of Shale Gas and Shale Oil Extraction, featured by the EU Parliament comes to the following conclusion:

"Even an aggressive development of gas shales in Europe could only contribute to the European gas supplies at one-digit percentage share at best. It will not reverse the continuing trend of declining domestic production and rising import dependency. Its influence on the European greenhouse gas emissions will remain small if not negligible, or could even be negative if other more promising projects are skipped due to wrong incentives and signals."

Keeping all that in mind, the only decent consequence should be that Ireland is following France and our government is deciding to ban hydraulic fracturing in Ireland.

I hope you will listen to the science and to the people who will have to face the consequences of such a risky technology which achieves a short term profit for a few, but does not take account of the medium and long-term consequences. Fracking is counter-productive in terms of solutions for our future energy politics.

For the vital future of our country, I hope you will do everything in your power to
ban fracking in Ireland.

Kindest regards,

Charlie Williams

(22 January 2012)

Here the further correspondence:

On 03/02/2012 09:48, Minister Rabbitte wrote:

Dear Mr Williams,

On behalf of Minister Rabbitte, I wish to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail 03 February in relation to fracking and have forwarded your correspondence to the office of Mr.Fergus O’Dowd T.D., Minister of State, who has responsibility in this area.

Please direct any further correspondence on this matter to:



Mr. Fergus O’Dowd T.D.

Minister of State

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

29-31 Adelaide Road

Dublin 2

Yours sincerely

Siobhán Greene


On 03/02/2012 11:33, Charlie Williams wrote:

Dear Siobhán,

Many thanks for your reply.

May I ask why this is no more a matter of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources?

And may I ask the Minister Pat Rabbitte why he told the Donegal County Councillors that a motion passed to include a ban on fracking in the County Plan "aren't worth the paper it is written on" (=>, confirmed by County Councillors at a public screening in Letterkenny)?

Kind regards,

Charlie Williams


No further reply so far.