Ireland joins Germany, France and Bulgaria in their rejection of the environmentally destructive practice of “fracking” for oil and gas.
The Republic of Ireland is the fourth European Union member to ban onshore fracking. The Netherlands may soon join the coalition by making their temporary ban permanent.
Fracking is a controversial method of extracting oil by literally “fracturing” the Earth to release gas trapped up to 2 miles beneath her surface.
The process involves drilling a well nearly 2 miles deep and a mile sideways, and then blasting millions of gallons of water and radioactive chemicals into it to create fissures in the shale rock layer of the Earth.
Sand is also blasted into the cracked rock formation to hold the fissures open and release the gas trapped inside.
Hydraulic fracturing, as it’s officially called, uses up to 6 million gallons of fresh water per well.
Because that water is radioactive and contains heavy metals, it needs to be stored in deep wells which can leak into the water table and contaminate drinking water.
Fracking has also been linked to increased earthquakes due to the long-term pressure imbalances it creates.
The Netherlands enacted a temporary 5-year ban on fracking in 2015 after significantly increased Earthquake activity in the country.