VICTORY – we made it by…. Fracking Ireland News Alert 2 August 16, 2014
Writing letters, educating/giving advice politicians, questioning re.breaking AARHUS convention, challenging the ‘permitted development rights’, calling for transparancy, consultation, providing them with evidence, researching the various Tamboran Resources Ltd’s, getting legal advice and taken action regarding definition of ‘minerals and ‘gas‘, ….. putting the pressure on the politicians to ‘ Do The Right Thing‘ and apply the precautionary principle
See also MLA members briefing on Tamborans legislative definition of minerals
NO FRACKING IRELAND
It’s hard to believe that with all the people who were looking at the “legal” side of things, (we were not as a network we were focusing on mobilising people and informing the public) – but others were groups etc including people in ngo’s and political parties yet we are expected to believe that none of them looked at the basics of the license and whether or not the quarry also had a license to allow any work to be carried out there.
It seems now the quarry did not have a license to allow work take place but more unbelievable is that the basic license that tamboran were going to test drill with was only allowing them to drill for MINERALS ie NOT GAS.
One member of NFI publicised this obvious basic problem with Tamboran’s license nearly two weeks ago – then organised publIcly along with a commumity group Lamp Fermanagh to raise money to initiate legal work on these grounds.
Then it just so happens that days later the same opinion re the license not covering gas was given by advisors ? in Stormont. This was then shared publicly by NFI – even though some people did not want this info from Stormont to be shared publicly.
(…) How could a minister allow the test drill go ahead when it was blatantly obvious that the license and the quarry had no legal standing, it would have made Durkan look crazy if he ignored those facts and allowed the drilling.
But it was vital that that info was shared publicly so that the powers that be knew we were on to the complete illegality of the situation. It is an outrage in my view that the authorities and political parties with all their advisors and legal eagles allowed the situation come to this ie. that a rig was actually on the way to Belcoo at the same time that Durkan was forced to make his announcement. Campaigners met the drill on the road to Belcoo yesterday and confirmed they were going to Belcoo.
It was the people who stopped the test drill in Belcoo not the powers that be. [Emphasis added]
Full article: legal smeagle
… we are not finished yet…..
KEEP THE BIG OIL COMPANY OUT – PROTECT THE SITE, SUPPORT BELCOO!!
Fracking firm calls in lawyers for possible court challenge to drilling snub by Liam Clarke, August 13, 2014, Belfast Telegraph
The Environment Minister could be facing a legal challenge after he decided not to allow a company to start exploring for shale gas.
Mark H Durkan refused to grant Tamboran Resources permission to drill a 750-metre deep exploratory borehole in a former quarry in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh.
Now the five-strong board of Tamboran Resources, who are based in Australia, are considering a judicial review of his decision.
They have already retained lawyers in Northern Ireland to advise them.
The lawyers are examining previous statements by Mr Durkan in which he expressed views about fracking, the controversial method by which gas would be extracted. …
Tamboran has not applied for a licence to frack and one could only be granted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) where the DUP’s Arlene Foster is minister.
However, shortly after he was appointed Mr Durkan pointed out that exploratory work would require permission from his department and stated that “as long as I am there, they will not be going through”.
Last October, in answer to an Assembly question from the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, Mr Durkan pledged “there will be no fracking on my watch”.
In a court it could be argued that such statements suggested that Mr Durkan had already made his mind up before considering the evidence.
A statement from his department concedes that under current planning legislation there are certain permitted development rights in relation to mineral exploration, including drilling boreholes.
However, the minister argues that in this case the situation is complicated by the fact that the borehole would be drilled in a former quarry where there had been “unauthorised extraction”. … Mr Durkan argued that “as a result of the unauthorised activities on the site, I was concerned that there was not sufficient information to assess the environmental impact of drilling a borehole cumulatively with other possible environmental impacts of the unregulated activity.”
As a result, he has asked the company to apply for full planning permission, a process that would take years. Its current exploration licence runs out in 2016.
In a judicial review it could argue that this is unreasonable. Another possible tactic would be to apply to drill somewhere where there had not been “unauthorised extraction”. If permission was refused again that could strengthen Tamboran’s case in court.
Last night Rosemary Craig, a law lecturer at the University of Ulster, said: “There has to be an appeal mechanism against the decisions of ministers and, from what is publicly known about this case, there seems to be reasonable grounds to apply for permission to hold a review.
“Tamboran could try to show that the minister had already taken a view before examining the case. It would be for the judge to decide if his decision was reasonable. The court might want to see any advice he had received indicating this was a special case.”
Tamboran Resources is licensed by the Department of the Environment to explore for natural gas in Fermanagh and wants to drill for rock samples at a quarry in Belcoo. If the samples indicate there is enough gas to make it worthwhile, Tamboran could apply to the Executive for permission to extract it by hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. Often boreholes are permitted without a specific planning approval. But Mark H Durkan, the Environment Minister, has demanded a full planning application with an environmental impact assessment, a lengthy process.
What the minister has said
“There will be planning permissions required for any exploratory work and there will be serious scrutiny on these by my department and as long as I am there, they will not be going through.”
Londonderry Sentinel, July 2013
“The onus on any promoter of these schemes is to prove that they are safe and I have yet to be convinced that that is the case… Frack off.”
Belfast Telegraph, August 10 2013
“Do we need to extract shale gas? Can it be done safely? Would it be done responsibly? These are the responsible questions. All facts are not in. The scientific evidence is far from being established. No fracking for Fermanagh, no fracking for Northern Ireland, as things stand.”
Belfast Telegraph, August 14 2013
“What I said was that it would not happen on my watch easily, and I mean that well and truly. Any decision will require full scientific evidence. In my opinion, that scientific evidence is not there now, and I cannot see it being there in the foreseeable future. Therefore, I cannot see fracking happening on my watch.”
October 14 2013 at Stormont, in reply to a question from Sammy Wilson MLA
[Refer also to:
Even oil-soaked Texas communities say “NO!”
Alberta’s energy [deregulating has] been highly regarded and copied in Canada and internationally. Mexico, the U.K., Romania, Hungary, Quebec, the Northwest Territories, are among jurisdictions cooperating with the AER.
Ronalie Campbell comment: At a hearing with a local oil company and government official present, the oil rep blurted out “it wasn’t us, it was Encana, CNRL, and all those others before us that blew the cap rock to hell.”
Slide from Ernst speaking events