Upcoming Events

National | Crime and Justice

no events match your query!

New Events


no events posted in last week

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds


Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link Kautsky – The crisis of capitalism and the shortening of working time Mon Nov 09, 2015 22:34 | James O'Brien

offsite link How to do better things with words Fri Oct 23, 2015 07:38 | modulus

offsite link Syriza and Israel: Syriza’s response Thu Aug 20, 2015 18:10 | yeksmesh

offsite link What does a Corbyn victory mean? Tue Aug 18, 2015 00:32 | Sami El-Sayed

offsite link SYRIZA: Was capitulation inevitable? Fri Jul 17, 2015 14:14 | Sami El-Sayed

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Fintan O’Toole: Falling for the myth that the people are to blame

offsite link Tom Lyons: A journalist unlikely to ask the tough questions Anthony

offsite link Breaking news: Sinn Fein responsible for IBRC farce Anthony

offsite link Atheist Ireland banned while Iona Institute enjoys full access to schools Anthony

offsite link Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Mini SitRep Krimea and Sevastopol Sat Nov 28, 2015 03:07 | Saker-Admin
Mini SitRep Krimea and Sevastopol …. by Auslander Yesterday and today have been difficult days, I will lay the events out by number: 1. We have roughly 60,000 guests in

offsite link The Western Sanctions on Russia SITREP by the Serbian Girl Fri Nov 27, 2015 15:53 | Scott
The US ?led war campaign against Russia, includes financial warfare. USA has complete dominance of the global financial network. Sanctions were put in place in order to financially asphyxiate Russia

offsite link Lavrov and Syrian FM Walid al-Moallem hold joint press conference in Moscow (ENGLISH) Fri Nov 27, 2015 15:16 | Scott
Video starts from 48:00 minutes. Streamed live on Nov 27, 2015 Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem hold a joint press conference following their meeting

offsite link Russian Weapon at Work Fri Nov 27, 2015 14:56 | Scott

offsite link Why is the US Hanging Turkey Out to Dry? ?. article by Andrew Korybko Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:37 | Saker-Admin
These three additional links support Andrew’s thesis that the US is turning on Turkey: US says Turkey downed Russian jet while Syrian airspace Retired US airforce general says Turkey broke

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland

offsite link Open Letter: Recognition of the Travelling Community as an Ethnic Minority in Ireland Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:56 | Liam Thornton

offsite link The Labour Party #repealthe8th Proposals: An Analysis Wed Nov 25, 2015 20:11 | Fiona de Londras

offsite link Book Launch: International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland, 8 December 2015 Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:21 | Liam Thornton

offsite link FLAC: 2016 Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:04 | Liam Thornton

offsite link The Green Party?s Reproductive Rights Policy: An Appraisal Tue Nov 17, 2015 07:55 | Fiona de Londras

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Greg Palast On 'Fracking' Plans For Ireland

category national | crime and justice | feature author Tuesday July 03, 2012 12:45author by One of NFI Report this post to the editors

featured image
Greg tells it like it is to a captivated audience

"Is there a safe way to frack? Probably: but not profitably; and
certainly not within the geology of a little emerald isle. "

- Greg Palast, investigative Journalist

On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline.On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people. What do these deaths have to do with plans for “fracking” for natural gas in Ireland? Everything. It was my job to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as a reporter for the UK news show Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping that I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland. First, the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven men died when the 'mud' – drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead – failed and methane gas blew out the top of the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburton’s mud.

Can we trust Halliburton’s reassurances? The owners of the Deepwater Horizon have told a US court that they’ve discovered that Halliburton hid critical information that the well cement could fail. Halliburton denies the cover-up. But cover-up or not, the cement failed as it has several times recently in the US in wells drilled for fracking. In all cases, including the contamination of water supplies in Pennsylvania (where some residents could set their tap water alight with a match), drilling was proceeded by mollifying studies indicating that all was safe. But they failed to see all the looming dangers.

In Ireland, you haven’t even done the studies. The University of Aberdeen study for the Irish Environmental Protection Agency has been played as some kind of endorsement for charging ahead with fracking in Ireland – but this is not the case if you actually read the study. The University study is, in fact, a long series of warnings that proposed drilling methods, the local geology and the potential impacts on water quality all require studies not even begun. It also points to the necessity of creating a regulatory system not now in place which can cope with watching thousands of explosive, toxic well-sites.

The Shannon river basin is a truly eyebrow-raising place to blindly drill thousands of wells. It’s located in proximity to one of Irelands few major aquifers (your drinking water supply) and the drilling will be relatively shallow. Where I live in the State of New York, the government, though a major booster of fracking, has banned the fracking of shallow shale deposits and banned the process from all locations near our aquifers. The US experience is not comforting. Horizontal fracking (as proposed for Irish deposits) requires explosive charges to be fired along miles of pipe underground (and under houses and water supplies) followed by the pumping of fluids at high pressure through these pipes. The result has been man-made earthquakes. Buildings don’t fall down, but cracks bring hydrocarbon poisons into the aquifers. In the vast uninhabited wastes of the American Dakotas, we simply abandon water systems. Where in Ireland can you do that?

And then there are the pipelines. The fracked gas doesn’t get to market by carrier pigeon. Ireland has had virtually no discussion of the difficulties, danger and cost of running hundreds, and ultimately, thousands of miles of gathering pipes. I’ve been investigating the horror of pipeline explosions for three decades now and the problem is exponentially worsened by the new web of lines created by fracking. Highly explosive transport systems require an elaborate system of on-site government regulation which Ireland does not have and cannot now afford. And it’s simply too easy for the PIGs to cheat.

A PIG is a Pipeline Inspection Gauge, a robot that looks like a mechanical porker with wire whiskers that crawls through pipes hunting for corrosion, cracks, leaks and trouble. When the PIG 'squeals', the pipes must be dug up and replaced. And that’s frightfully expensive. It especially frightens the executives who have to pay for pipe replacement. So, what I’ve found and reported is that the providers of software and its users are aware that the PIGs’ diagnostic computer code, which converts the squeals of the PIG into warnings, has flaws which understate dangers. And the results have been horribly predictable: Despite the reassuring noises from the PIGs, pipes have leaked, polluted, exploded and killed.

Is there a safe way to frack? Probably: but not profitably; and certainly not within the geology of a little emerald isle. I am weary of appearing at scenes of death and destruction when cement fails, pipes crack and tremors spew poisons only to hear a gas or oil company executive’s PR flack issue an apology. I doubt those apologies will sound better in Gaelic.

By Greg Palast

author by LDpublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 23:16Report this post to the editors



Caption: Greg Palast talks

© 2001-2015 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy