Ireland is one signature away from banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. After the country’s House of Representatives, the Dáil Éireann, passed a fracking ban the end of May, Ireland’s Senate, the Seanad Éireann, followed suit the end of June. Now the bill just needs Irish President Michael Higgins’ signature before Ireland bids farewell to the controversial practice.
“We’ve made history,” said Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin, who introduced the bill, after the vote. President Higgins is expected to sign the bill “in the coming days,” according to the Fine Gael Party. France, Bulgaria, and Germany are the only other European Union states to have banned the practice onshore so far.
“Fracking must be seen as a serious public health and environmental concern for Ireland,” McLoughlin said in a statement. “If fracking was allowed to take place in Ireland and Northern Ireland it would pose significant threats to the air, water, and the health and safety of individuals and communities here.”
According to The Irish Times, politicians across the political spectrum in Ireland supported the bill. A public consultation earlier in 2017 drew 8,000 submissions, with just one opposing the ban. Environmental activists touted the bill as protecting people, the environment, and water quality in the country. There are large shale deposits in multiple counties in Ireland such as Sligo and Leitrim, the counties McLoughlin represents.
Irish communities will be safe from the negative impacts of fracking seen in towns and cities in the United States, according to McLoughlin, where states are beginning to consider fracking bans. Earlier this year Maryland joined Vermont and New York to ban fracking, and they were the first state with gas reserves to do so.