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Environmental Report on the Corrib Gas Project

category mayo | environment | opinion/analysis author Wednesday August 09, 2006 15:40author by Ruth - Rossport Solidarity Camp Report this post to the editors

Detail of the destruction of the natural environment which will happen if Shell’s proposed pipeline and refinery is not stopped by people power.

The environmental consequences of the proposed gas pipeline and refinery in Broadhaven Bay, North West Mayo, will be catastrophic. The pipeline is experimental and is to be located at 80 kilometres at sea and 9 kilometres over land. The refinery would be responsible for discharging a cocktail of dangerous substances into Broadhaven Bay; radon gas, lead, nickel, mercury along with oxides of nitrogen, soot, volatile organic compounds, explosive methane, sulphur dioxide, numerous gas emissions and a carbon dioxide output equivalent to over 10,000 cars every year. The wild winds and heavy rains of the region will spread the pollution over a much wider area.

Broadhaven Bay is an outstandingly beautiful and complex environment. The proposed refinery raises major ecological concerns. Its construction requires the removal of a large amount of blanket bog and its deposition in specially built reposities on the terminal site. Further concerns include potential contamination of the ground water supply from both the excavated and repository peat, and damage to the environment in close proximity to the E.U. designated sites of special areas of conservation. In particular, Glenamoy bog, Carrowmore Lake and Broadhaven Bay, with an increased risk of a peat slide within the zone. The pipeline would run through bog land that is waterlogged and unstable.

Displacement of birds, disruption to marine life and degradation of the machairs (sand dunes) is inevitable.
The coastal and offshore waters of Broadhaven Bay provide seabirds with a rich source of nutrition. Many seabirds breed on the coast. The offshore seabirds include members of several families, most notably the petrels and shearwaters, gamets, auks, gulls and skuas. The bay supports internationally significant bird concentrations including; great northern divers, barnacle geese, common scoters and retro divers. Birds of national importance include; red breasted merganser, sand martins, sanderlings, turnstones, purple sandpiper, stonechats, bar-tailed godwits, to name but a few of the multitude of bird species who inhabit the bay. In summer, Glenamoy is a particularly important feeding ground for, common terns, arctic terns and little terns. The little tern population is on the red list, identified as already under threat of extinction, as they nest on mainline beaches.

A pair of peregrine falcons was recently spotted at Glengad where the on land section of pipeline begins and is just 9 kilometres from the proposed refinery site.

The diverse and unique marine life located in the bay is under serious threat. The bay is home to a wide variety of whales, dolphins and porpoises. A number of these, including the harbour porpoise, the common bottlenose, Risso’s, Atlantic white sided and white beaked dolphins and the long finned pilot whale are confirmed to breed in Irish waters. Many others including the blue fin and humpback whale do not breed in the area but migrate annually along the North West Mayo coast. The bay supports a treasure trove of commercially important species of fish and shellfish; mackerel, sole, hake, crab, oysters, cockles and mussels among many others. The protection of the nursery and spawning grounds is vital for the local fishing industry. The nearby Glenamoy River is important for salmon and sea trout fishing. The pipeline will cause problems with disruption to the sonar communications of the whales, dolphins and porpoises. Damage from pollution to all sea life, from plankton to whales will result from toxic waste that will be pumped into the sea.

The overland pipeline route is intended to come ashore through an area of beach at Glengad. This will degrade the delicate sandy grassland habitat called machairs. These are formed when calcareous sand is blown in by prevailing winds from beaches and dunes; it is one of the rarest wildlife habitats in Europe. Traditional low input farming systems has allowed wildlife to flourish; nationally scarce birds, such as Corncrake, Chough and important populations of breeding waders, such as Dunlin, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher all breed on machair and a wide variety of plants and rare insects, including the Belted Beauty moth and the Great Yellow Bumblebee.

The proposed pipeline and refinery threatens to toxically disrupt the delicate bio-diverse ecosystem of Broadhaven Bay at every level from the air to the land and the sea. The consequences of this will be evident, as pollution will be ingested, damaging human health from the atmosphere to the food chain. The bay supports so much wildlife due to the variety of environments within it; mudflats, sand dunes, beaches, machairs that are richer in biomass than land. Pollution of this eco-system will detrimentally affect everything in the food chain from the plankton to humans.

The increase in traffic and road construction necessitated by the refinery, will further contribute to a reduction in air quality and destruction of the environment. If this refinery is built, it will condemn an irreplaceable, diverse and delicate area of outstanding beauty to become a toxic, polluted wasteland.
Chemical fumes and increased air temperatures from the refinery chimneys flaring, will adversely affect all breathing creatures. There will be dire health consequences from air pollution and increased respiratory problems in the area are a certainty, especially in children. The link between health and ecology is well documented, and there are ever increasing concerns about the effects of chemicals on human health and the environment. This proposed environmental slaughter by Shell would result in poisoning an essential eco-system, the consequences of which will reach far beyond Broadhaven bay. Shell is systematically destroying the environment and consequently people’s health. The Armageddon caused by their industry on a global scale repeatedly demonstrates this. The atrocity of their actions can be witnessed by the death and destruction they have already wrecked in other parts of the world. The proposed gas pipeline and refinery in Broadhaven Bay, North West Mayo is a massive wake up call to not let this diseased industry happen in the, to date, properly named Emerald Isle.

Related Link: http://www.struggle.ws/rsc
author by Flynn - agrescon@agrescon.nlpublication date Tue Aug 22, 2006 15:32author email agrescon at agrescon dot nlauthor address author phone 0031102102055Report this post to the editors

Many thanks for a Great report Ruth, many people will now be aware of the immense Damage this will cause , here in Holland the damage has already been done, and left a poisoned earth in its wake. It will take Centuries to clean up if ever. Keep up your great work, there are thousands that support you. Flynn O Flynn

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