There was a great show of community opposition at yesterday’s Rathlin Energy meeting.
At least 50 people turned up to show their opposition to Rathlin Energy’s operations, especially the possibility of fracking. Most people there felt that the smooth-talking Rathlin Energy Executives were simply engaging in a tick-box community consultation exercise.
If the company really cared what local people thought they would pack up and go home!
But it looks like they are proposing to go ahead with their testing, plans to drill a new well, and ultimately fracking. They didn’t tell people anything they didn’t already know. It took a lot of questionning before they admitted that they could use fracking. They looked very uncomfortable when asked difficult and detailed questions about the processes they would use and how they would handle risks. Different executives provided different answers.
Great outcomes from this Rathlin Energy meeting are that more local people are now much more aware of the risks of fracking, and wanting to take action against it. This is great news! Well done to those who are leading this campaign!
Rathlin Energy Ltd, the Canadian-owned company with the exploratory petroleum licence for the North Coast area, is holding a meeting with the public, at the Ballinlea drill hole, on the Ballinlea Road, outside Ballycastle on Thursday, 7th June from 4-8pm.
Only people within a limited radius have been invited to the meeting – even though what the company has to say will be of interest to people from all along the North Coast. Anyone who is interested in what the company has to say should go along to find out what is planned for the North Coast.
This is a great opportunity for local people to put questions to the company about their intentions: Do they intend to undertake fracking in the area? What exactly are they planning to drill for (oil/natural gas)? How exactly do they intend to extract it? Do they plan to use fracking in a vertical well, or a vertical well with horizontals coming off it, or multiple vertical and horizontal wells? How deep would the vertical well/s be? How long would the horizontals be? If they plan to use fracking, what method of fracking would they intend to use? What chemicals? How much water? Where would they get the water? Where and how would they store the water….before and after fracking? How would they control toxicity? How would they prevent cracks and leakage over time in the concrete casing of the boreholes? How would they prevent transport and storage facilities from having spillages? How would they prevent hazardous, radioactive, toxic chemicals from getting into the groundwater and local water wells and streams? How do they plan to contain the radon, a known carcinogen which is already contained within rock along the North Coast at worryingly high levels, and prevent it from getting into groundwater, crops, livestock, and people?
Harvard Law School has produced great advice for landowners being approached by oil/gas companies who might be undertaking hydraulic fracturing/fracking – see the following link (and please note that this Harvard document states: “Keep in mind, however, that a lease cannot prevent harm; it only gives you legal rights in case things go wrong. Even the best companies can have accidents. It is impossible to eliminate all risk.”)
Here is the link to the Ballinlea drill site via google maps – so you know where to go for the meeting on Thursday: http://goo.gl/maps/PwGy