A bill banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Republic of Ireland was voted through the Dáil Éireann (the country's House of Representatives, so to speak) on Thursday.
According to the Irish Examiner, the bill's passage is "the first step in enforcing a nationwide ban on fracking and it will give the Government 12 weeks before it goes before further parliamentary scrutiny." The bill has now been moved to the committee stage for further review.
Fracking does not currently take place in the Emerald Isle but three exploratory licenses have been granted. The bill, The Prohibition of the Exploration and Extraction of Onshore Petroleum Bill, was introduced by Dáil member Tony McLoughlin, TD of the Fine Gael party. McLoughlin currently represents Sligo-Leitrim, a constituency that has been marked for potential shale gas exploration.
The legislation initially faced a potential eight-month delay to allow for Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency to issue a report on fracking, but the Government ultimately decided not to table the proposal.
During a televised debate over the bill, a number of speakers—across parties, no less—passionately argued that unconventional oil and gas operations have significant adverse effects, including its threat to human health, that it pollutes water and drives climate change, and would hamper Ireland's emissions targets.
"Fracking has no place in a low carbon future," said Joe Carey, Fine Gael TD for County Clare, according to Coghlan's tweet.