Stop the finger wagging about fracking

 

Sir, – I see your latest finger-wagging editorial (December 2nd) endorses the policy of a prohibition on fracking due to three “imponderables”.

Leaving aside the risk of seismic activity which is debatable, both of the other “imponderables” such as gas seepage into aquifers and at the wellhead are equally possible from conventional drilling. One wonders, therefore, if the policy should also include a prohibition on conventional drilling, even for water wells?

Your final paragraph nails it. The real reason for the prohibition should be to give priority to renewable energy, ergo don’t drill for hydrocarbons. Unless we can wave a magic wand, at present it is impossible not to consume hydrocarbon fuel – assuming we don’t wish to regress to a Stone Age subsistence. So if we don’t produce it in Ireland, we have to produce it somewhere else and import it – the net effect will be exactly the same. So why should Ireland not derive some benefit by keeping the revenue and jobs at home? If you think this is a perverse idea, it is precisely the same logic that compels Ireland to over-produce greenhouse gases from livestock farming because if we didn’t do it, someone else will.

I really hope that the Environmental Protection Agency is guided by science, engineering and logic on this recommendation and not by some kind of coercion to come up with the right answer that indulges the nimbyism which is at the root cause of all rural objections to wind turbines, pylons, incinerators, gas pipes, water pipes and the latest crank objection – data centres.

To return to the “seismic activity” – if this remote risk was of any significance, south Texas would be in a permanent state of tectonic upheaval.

– Yours, etc,

PAUL MILNE

Sutton,

Dublin 13.