Irish Environmentalists Protest Shell’s Corrib Gas Pipeline
B. McPherson - Green Watch
Around the world, the ordinary people are starting to realize the huge potential for environmental damage that our addiction to fossil fuels has created. A group in Ireland under the banner of Shell to Sea
is using peaceful civil disobedience to protest the Royal Dutch Shell natural gas pipeline route.
They have three stated aims in this regard: to ensure the safety of the people and environment, to renegotiate the terms of royalties for the offshore gas deposits, and to address what they claim are human rights abuses.
The protesters have been interfering in the movement of materials used to build the pipeline. Two of the latest actions involved occupying a quarry that was supplying stone for the project and a woman locked herself to a tree cutting piece of machinery in an attempt to prevent cutting through a local forest.
“Protests last Thursday led to a stand-off at a local quarry where the owner ultimately used a high-powered water hose in an attempt to remove protestors from his machinery.
Earlier in the week, on Tuesday last, a garda used an angle-grinder to remove a woman who was locked by her neck to the arm of a tree-cutting machine.” Shell to Sea
Because the Corrib gas pipeline would snake through residential areas to the refinery, concern was expressed about the conflagration that would result from a high pressure rupture of the pipes. It was estimated at local hearings that dwellings within 700 feet of the line would burst into flames, allowing the inhabitants about 30 seconds to flee. While the consultants speaking for the oil consortium downplayed the danger, those in opposition to the route had a different take on the situation.
“Last week Desmond Branigan, of DB Marine Research and Associates, told the hearing that Lloyd’s Marine Intelligence Unit had recorded 1,200 deaths in the past decade (to 2008) as a result of pipeline fractures in 58 countries.” Shell to Sea
Oil and gas pipelines move millions of barrels of oil around the world. More are being proposed as you read this. While the pipeline builders seek to maintain high safety standards, accidents do happen. Sometimes spills occur when maintenance allows corrosion to eat its way through the pipe, other spills occur when transferring oil to ships or storage facilities. Human error is always a factor. The result of spills, leaks and flare offs is damage to the environment and often to people. Ordinary people are starting to say, “No!” to unbridled building of petroleum pipelines through sensitive environments.
A Few Proposed and Recently Built Petroleum Pipelines
·Corrib pipeline Ireland, County Mayo
·Keystone pipeline, Canada to US Gulf coast
·Northern Gateway pipeline, Alberta Canada to BC Canada coast
·Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, Alberta Canada to BC Canada coast
·Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline, to bypass the Strait of Hormuz
·Maze of proposed pipelines to move Russian oil to Europe, map link
"Ireland only taxes the profits of such enterprises [petroleum exploration and production]. There is no per unit tax or levy as in other countries and Ireland's tax rate is relatively low. The State also does not take an ownership stake in the field or demand royalties. Thus on this basis, Ireland's tax regime is generous in comparison to that of other countries. "
Oireachtas Committee report on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration
"I put it to you, that the evidence you have given here is entirely based on lies, save for your name, your station and the location where this incident occurred."
Defence barrister Leo Mulrooney questioning Garda Justin Browne just before the Judge dismissed an appeal case against Corrib campaigner, Ray Hanrahan
"Possible minor discipline for any one officer is not an appropriate response to the Corrib policing culture of violence and disrespect that has been institutionalised by the State as a whole. This culture has been established and nurtured by politicians who have publicly sanctioned the use of violent force against the community affected by the Corrib gas project."
Jerrie Ann Sullivan commenting on the GSOC final report
"Parents are delayed by Gardai when picking up their children from school, farmers are stopped when moving animals and machinery, walkers and cyclists are ordered off the public highway and even manhandled by Gardai to make way for construction vehicles. Some people have been prevented from leaving their homes, and have been subjected to night-time visits to their property by both Gardai and so-called security personnel"
In a letter of complaint signed by 112 resident, they describe how the construction of Corrib Onshore pipeline is being forced through
"Everybody accepts that Bertie Ahern accepted corrupt payments for planning decisions worth millions, why do you think he wouldn't accept money from the oil industry, when it’s for gas and oil fields worth billions."
Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway
“Corruption in Irish political life was both endemic and systemic. It affected every level of government, from some holders of top ministerial offices to some local councillors, and its existence was widely known and widely tolerated”
The Mahon report into planning corruption
"If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and I have a straw … and my straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake... Slurp... I drink it up."
Quote from "There will be Blood" used in a clip relating to Providence Resources oil find off Cork
"I took this action because of the situation in Erris. What we have been subjected to by the actions of Shell and the State is worthy of a dictatorship, the police are working as an arm of the oil companies"
Terence Conway - Shell to Sea spokesperson speaking in court before being jailed for two 3-month sentences
"Public order situations are never pretty. pushing and shoving sometimes has to happen to ensure people don't get hurt."
Superintendent Patrick Diskin speaking in Belmullet District Court
"I'd like to call now on Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore, to come down here to Aughoose, where I live and to witness the occupation of a small rural village in Ireland, where ordinary decent people cannot go about their business."