Uk government internet porn filter adviser up on child porn charges 21:33 Mar 10 3 comments
Tom Gilmartin -Key Planning Tribunal Witness -dies and is buried 22:40 Nov 27 0 comments
Couple want IRA conviction quash decision made public 16:11 Apr 19 2 comments
Ulster Loyalism, Flag Protests & the failure of zero sum politics 18:39 Jan 13 2 commentsmore >>
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
THE WORLD COULD SORT OUT EBOLA FOR THE PRICE OF ONE BONO 23:07 Tue Nov 18, 2014
WELL THAT?S IRISH WATER FINALLY SORTED OUT 23:04 Tue Nov 18, 2014
1916 in 2016 08:47 Mon Nov 17, 2014
IRELAND, POLAND AND FRACKING 07:56 Mon Nov 17, 2014
WHEN IT COMES TO THE BANKS, LEAVE PLOT AT THE DOOR 22:24 Fri Nov 14, 2014
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Trailing Behind Europe in Employment Growth Wed Nov 26, 2014 15:32 | Michael Taft
Latest Issue of People?s News is Out Now Wed Nov 26, 2014 15:26 | Irish Left Review
Make the Economy Better ? Abolish Zero-Hour Contracts Tue Nov 25, 2014 09:02 | Michael Taft
From Alpha to Omega Podcast #56: Essence and the Philosophy of Science Mon Nov 24, 2014 22:53 | Tom O'Brien
Progressive Film Club: Films on Conflict Around the World Mon Nov 24, 2014 22:08 | Irish Left Review
Book Launch 11 December 2014: Ireland and the ECHR 60 Years and Beyond Tue Nov 25, 2014 15:58 | Liam Thornton
We Won?t Back Down Sun Nov 23, 2014 16:59 | GuestPost
Future Voices Ireland Volunteer Group Leaders Wanted Thu Nov 20, 2014 18:31 | GuestPost
Our Voices, Our Rights: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Ireland Wed Nov 19, 2014 08:00 | GuestPost
Direct Provision in the Irish High Court: The Decision Mon Nov 17, 2014 16:17 | Liam Thornton
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
Greg Palast On 'Fracking' Plans For Ireland
"Is there a safe way to frack? Probably: but not profitably; and
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