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Fracked gas as ‘Projects of Common Interest’ challenged

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Monday September 30, 2019 23:26author by foie - Friends of the Irish Environment Report this post to the editors

Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 29th Sept 2019

State faces further legal challenge to Shannon LNG terminal
Fracked gas as ‘Projects of Common Interest’ challenged

The State has been warned that it cannot approve the proposed Shannon LNG terminal as a ‘Project of Common Interest’ [PCI] without undergoing a Strategic Environmental Assessment [SEA] and a period of public consultation.

PCIs are key cross border infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries. They are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************
PRESS RELEASE
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


State faces further legal challenge to Shannon LNG terminal
Fracked gas as ‘Projects of Common Interest’ challenged

The State has been warned that it cannot approve the proposed Shannon LNG terminal as a ‘Project of Common Interest’ [PCI] without undergoing a Strategic Environmental Assessment [SEA] and a period of public consultation.

PCIs are key cross border infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries. They are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

PCIs are considered to be projects with ‘imperative reasons of overriding public interest’, allowing them accelerated planning and permit granting and access to a €5.35 billion fund from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) even if they harm protected habitats such as those surrounding the proposed Shannon LNG terminal.

In a letter to the Minister for Climate Change Richard Bruton, [1] Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] said they were ‘extremely concerned’ that the proposed Shannon LNG project will involve the importation of fracked gas and ‘has the potential to lock in hydrocarbon infrastructure without any strategic assessment at a national level’.

The warning letter comes as FIE’s challenge to the extension of time for construction of the Shannon LNG plant has been referred by the High Court to the European Court of Justice for advice.

Assessment ‘loophole’
According to FIE, the proposed LNG Terminals and Ireland's access to the global LNG market were not mentioned in the 2017 "National Mitigation Plan" or the 2019 ‘Draft Statutory Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Electricity and Gas Networks Sector’. Not was it ‘screened’ to determine if an SEA was necessary for the ‘Irish Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) which set the framework for future development consent.

Inclusion in an Energy Plan at Member State level, the letter states, ‘would oblige strategic assessment of reasonable alternatives. Member States have strategic choices in terms of the infrastructure that it builds and therefore must conduct a strategic environmental assessment of those options and design and implement a monitoring program to identify at an early stage unforeseen adverse effects and to be able to undertake appropriate remedial action.’

However, according to letter the environmental charity has been ‘unable to find any substantive information such as a draft plan, an Environmental Report, a Screening Report, Natura Impact Assessment or any notices in relation to the approval procedure. It has therefore been prevented from exercising its rights of public participation as an eNGO.’

PCIs lists are drawn up every two years and must be approved by every member state. Ireland is due to approve its list, which includes the proposed Shannon LNG Plant, next month.

The challenge comes a week after the High Court granted FIE’s Judicial Review and struck down the Minister’s Statutory Instrument attempting to remove peat extraction from planning controls. [2] FIE Director Tony Lowes said that ‘the distance between the Minister’s words and his deeds grows exponentially as the climate crisis deepens.’

ENDS

Contacts:
Fred Logue 087 1316023 (solicitor)
Tony Lowes +353 (0)27 74771 / +353 (0)87 2176316
Daithí Ó hÉalaithe (Irish language) +353 (0)87 6178852

[1] Text of letter
https://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/images/pdf/LT_to_MCCAE_2792019_final.pdf

[2] Ministers’ peat Regulations struck down
https://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17706-minister-s-statutory-peat-regulations-dissolved-by-high-court

Related Link: https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17707-state-faces-further-legal-challenge-to-shannon-lng-terminal
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