5 December 2011

Fracking on the Border

The map below displays the area of Co. Fermanagh marked for Fracking, an extremely controversial method of extracting gases from under the ground. Two companies have been granted exploration licenses for this area but the issue is now coming under fresh examination.

Click on the map for a closer look.

In the Fracking process boreholes are made into shale rock. This is a common rock-form in north-western Ireland, what geologists call a Carboniferous Basin unites counties Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Donegal and Fermanagh. Water and chemicals are forced down into natural fractures in the rock, opening them and allowing the gas to be extracted. One risk is that of the chemical cocktail seeping into ground water and endangering health. There are others concerns, such as the possibility that Fracking contributes to earth tremors. Fracking companies themselves admit that this is a very young technology and all its side-effects are not yet fully understood. Tomorrow (December 6th) a motion calling for a moratorium on Fracking in Northern Ireland will be under debate in Parliament buildings, Belfast. A group calling themselves 'No Fracking Way' will be outside Stormont seeking to highlight the environmental dangers of the process.

Protest is loud south of the border too and, as Andy Pollack observed on Slugger O’Toole lately, the fight against Fracking is starting to turn into a cross-border campaign.

A cartographic statement by Brigitta Varadi and John the Map. I lifted at this image from the profile of Stephen Rennicks, an artist who lives in the area and who is a part of the Engage Collective.

Here’s one particularly vibrant and sturdy piece of awareness-raising happening south of the border. 'Talk About Fracking' is an exhibition and website by the Engage Artist Collective The exhibition is running for a few more days at Mercantile Plaza in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. The map above features in the exhibition. It shows possible Fracking drilling paths in Glenfarne area, south of Lough MacNean. Creation of the map was a collaboration between Brigitta Varadi and someone called John the Map. John the Map sounds like someone I would like to meet.