General Information regarding the application:
On the 5th of January the Department of the Environment published a public notice of Application MS 51/4/541 by Providence Resources (http://www.environ.ie/en/Foreshore/ApplicationsandDeterminations/ProvidenceResourcesPLC/) and its partner seeking a license to conduct a survey and exploratory drilling of a location six (6) kilometers off Dalkey Island. If Oil or Gas is found, Providence will seek a lease to drill an area which extends from Howth Head to Bray Head.
The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, and the foreshore section of that department will make a decision on the license application on the 2nd of February. There has been no independent environmental impact assessment.
That means that the public and various concerned parties have been given a term of 21 working days to assess the application. The length of this term is inadequate to allow a proper response. There are many aspects of the application and it’s possible consequences which demand consideration and consultation. Definite consequences of the exploration include marine pollution; the extreme possibilities include a major spill of 1,000 tonnes of diesel heading towards the enclosed Dublin Bay and the Wicklow coastline at 30 knots- an event that would wipe out marine life in the area, and severely damage coastal human habitation.
Many people are duly concerned with this state of affairs. Legal advice has suggested that at this stage the only way that a granting of this application can be avoided on the 2nd of February is by concerted public action involving petitioning email@example.com and Minister Phil Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) together with relevant Ministers, TD’s and local coastal Councillors with objections, information and concerns.
Here is a collection of questions you might like answered, together with our current position on them:
1. What are the Main Concerns?
-Three weeks’ notice is not enough time to collate independent data on this large and complex application.
-Local coastal residential areas, businesses and special interest groups such as nature groups or outdoor activity clubs need to know how spills and pollution would effect them.
-There are environmental concerns (see question below), particularly concerning endangered and protected species which inhabit the area.
-This is the closest drilling to the coast yet proposed in Ireland, and that in shallow water at several kilometres distance from her biggest city.
2. What are the Environmental Concerns?
-The drilling and associated industrial activity will take place near several Special Protection Areas
-There are several species existing in a fragile state in various categories.
Endangered species such as Roseate Terns, Sooty Shearwater, Fin Whales and Humpback whales inhabit the local waters. Any environmental catastrophe could do severe damage to their numbers
Protected species including Seals and Dolphins live in the area; the Dolphins are very sensitive to the loud traffic and sound blasts used during the survey, and may be driven away by it
There are some species particular to this locality, which need to be protected, such as Manx Shearwaters.
There would be chemical pollution and other forms of environmental pollution created by this industrialisation of Killiney Bay.
There are major environmental concerns around the practice of Carbon Sequestration, or carbon dumping, which is part of the license application. Experts say that the leakage of buried carbon could change the biological balance of the sea and suffocate all Marine life.
3. What are the Economic logistics?
Surely it’s a good thing for Ireland? Not really, Ireland might benefit slightly, if at all; there may be long-term losses involved.
Ireland has one of the lowest tax rates for oil in the world, about 20% – and the company don’t pay any tax until they recoup their costs. It’s owned by multimillionaires and financial investors, who as we know evade paying any tax here very successfully.
There may be economic repercussions for the local community, such as a lowering of property prices, tourism and the quittance of the resident Dolphins in the event of the presence of a visible rig off Dalkey Island and increased industrial traffic.
Oil rigs are usually staffed by skilled workers, most of which could be brought in from abroad.
There will be no-go zones for local fishermen and boaters during drilling operations described in the application.
There are serious questions around relying on an unsustainable resource such as oil, when global shortage could lead to economic and social collapse due to overdependence.
4. What can we do to help this situation?
At present, the main problem is perceived to be the short amount of time the public has to respond to notice of the application. There are local groups and petitions being organised around localised concerns. What are your local concerns? Is your residential community close to this area? Does the Kish basin tide wash over your shores? Do you have a local business in a coastal area, or are you a member of a nature club or sporting club or marina in the coastal area from Howth to Bray Head?
If so, you probably should get on to your local councillors and TD’s to find out what they are doing to assess how this relates to the local level, and if they are in dialogue with the Dept. of the Environment about these concerns. Political representatives respond primarily to the needs of their constituents, and it’s very easy to find out who they are: just google the name of your area and ‘TD’ or ‘councillor.’ Write them emails, and also write your objections, thoughts or queries to Minister Phil Hogan at email@example.com before (Feb the 2nd) and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Starting a local group and having a community or local groups’ meeting is a good step. Also passing flyers with information out locally.
For more info and a general petition see www.protectourcoast.net or contact email@example.com
To see the license application documents: http://www.environ.ie/en/Foreshore/ApplicationsandDeterminations/ProvidenceResourcesPLC/
The following links are from the public notice below: