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Issue No. 10 - June 15, 2013

1. Loop Head - Ireland's Best Holiday Destination

Clare Peninsula

Loop Head Peninsula is the westernmost tip of County Clare, an area of stunning natural beauty. As the map at left shows, Loop Head is also part of the 495 sq. km area covered by the shale gas licensing option granted to Enegi Oil. At the expiry of the licensing option in February 2013, Enegi Oil applied to the Irish government for a license to explore for shale gas in this area. Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd has confirmed that the consideration of such applications is pending the results of the EPA research on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, which is currently in the preparatory stage.

In the meantime, Loop Head has been named "Ireland's Best Holiday Destination" from among 1,400 entries in a competition run by the Irish Times. In 2010, Loop Head was awarded a European Destinations of Excellence Award (EDEN), in recognition of the sustainable manner in which tourism on the peninsula has been developed.

As this letter to the Irish Times indicates, local people are concerned about the impact that hydraulic fracturing would have on the local environment, their health, and the sustainable tourism businesses they have worked to establish.

There is also evidence that this gas project is not economically viable, and the geology of the Clare shale suggests that there may not be recoverable gas there, due to the thermal maturity of the shale.

2. Brewers opposed to hydraulic fracturing

Fracking Guinness

It takes good water, and lots of it, to make good beer. Hydraulic fracturing is known to take enormous quantities of water out of the natural supply and contaminate it with highly toxic chemicals.

As the following articles show, brewers in the USA, Germany, and the Netherlands have begun speaking out in opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

Diageo (parent company of Irish brands such as Guinness, Smithwick's, Baileys Irish Cream, and Bushmills whiskey, as well as Budweiser, Carlsberg and Smirnoff, among other major brands), did not respond to repeated requests from the SGBI for comment on the company's position on hydraulic fracturing.

3. Fracking in Fermanagh

Fracking in Fermanagh is a documentary featuring the research done by a group of students in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, into the petroleum license granted to Tamboran for an area that covers half of county Fermanagh. Tamboran was also granted a licensing option in the Republic of Ireland, covering land in three counties across the border from Fermanagh (Leitrim, Sligo, and Cavan).

The students informed themselves about hydraulic fracturing technology and the specific plans that Tamboran has for using this technology in their county. They found that initially 60 well pads will be constructed in the combined area in which Tamboran proposes to extract shale gas on both sides of the border. The well pads, concreted, will each cover an area of 7 – 9 acres and they will be spaced 1 – 2 km apart. Initially 3,000 wells are planned on both sides of the border, for a total of 24 horizontal wells per well pad, 8 each at three different depths. Each well pad will also contain a 50 sq m reservoir for wastewater.

The Irish government has said that it will not allow hydraulic fracturing to occur until the results of the EPA study currently being planned are considered (see Item 1). Although this EPA study
is an all-Ireland initiative involving both governments, the Northern Irish government has given no such assurances.

The Good Energies Alliance has launched a campaign appealing for an all-Ireland moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until the results of the EPA study have been evaluated.

For more on the shale gas situation in Northern Ireland, see the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network (FFAN), Not for Shale, and

Issue No. 9     June 1, 2013

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