Updated: 11/10/12 : 09:14:36
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Harkin calls for Wider Debate on Fracking

Independent MEP Marian Harkin has called for a ‘deeper and wider  rational debate’ on shale gas extraction while participating in an Irish-made documentary on the subject.

Harkin invited Roscommon-based independent film-maker Catherine Boyle to the European Parliament to interview participants at a workshop on ‘fracking’. Boyle's documentary will focus on the impact of the shale gas industry on two villages in Bulgaria.

The Ireland North & West MEP noted that "this workshop was yet another milestone in the ever-deepening and ever-widening debate on shale gas extraction, and what role, if any, it should play in the future energy mix of Ireland and Europe".

She added that "the workshop very much confirmed the emerging consensus on this extraction method, namely that without drastically improved regulation, the potential environmental and socio-economic risks associated with fracking currently outweigh the potential benefits".

The Independent MEP argued that "more and more evidence is becoming available and this needs to be brought to public attention. My office has produced a report on fracking in Pennsylvania with cooperation from scientists in Cornell University. Their research and our observations show that water quality and animal health have been adversely affected by fracking".

Harkin concluded that "while the film is still in the preparatory phase, I hope the end result proves to be a balanced and useful contribution to the bigger debate on fracking. I commend citizens like Catherine who shine a light on some questionable  aspects of the extraction industry".