Pursuant to the Public Participation Directive (European Directive 2003/35/EC) I, the undersigned, hereby petition the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to refuse permission for a Standard Exploration License, File number: MS 51/4/541, sought by Providence Resources PLC., to conduct a site investigation and exploratory well drilling off the coast at Dublin and Wicklow, for one or all of the following reasons:
The public has been given a three week window to view and possibly object to the application. An independent assessment is vital in order to ameliorate the concerns of the public in several areas: environmental, economic, health and safety, and legal.
The proposed exploratory drill is the closest to land of the company's marine drills, and happens to be next to the highest and most densely populated region in the country. We understand that the applicant has done research and will do its best to avoid it, but in the event of a worst-case spill (which Providence say would have 1,000 tonnes of diesel heading towards the coastline from several kilometres away at 30 knots) the confined nature of Dublin Bay and the Liffey mean that the applicant may be unable to effectively contain the spillage in time, leading to environmental and human catastrophe. The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management recommends that drills take place a minimum of 25km from shore, as 'any emissions in such areas means that the consequences are worse for the environment than if it happens elsewhere.'
Further, as the waters of Dublin Bay and Dalkey Island have been designated as Special Protection Areas under EU regulations by the Ministry for the Environment, there are concerns about pollution from chemical effluent or diesel spillage from the drilling and the heavy traffic to and from. There is an abundance of wildlife attached to this area including several endangered species such as humpback and fin whales, and the sooty shearwater and razorbill avifaunae. Notwithstanding any spillage, there is in any case considerable toxic chemical effluent from offshore drills.
Providence Resources states that some species particular to this region are 'very vulnerable to oil pollution.' Spawning fish within the proposed well area include haddock, blue whiting, horse mackerel and cod. The waters of the area also act as a nursery ground for mackerel, squids, octopuses and cuttlefish. There is a moderate abundance of dolphins, porpoises, whales and seals which forage in the area. The harbour porpoise (HP) and bottlenose dolphins (BND), are both Annex II species (top conservation priority in EU),which include the nationally popular dolphins living off Killiney beach. A major spill would destroy all marine life in this rich and sensitive area
Whilst recognising that I may use any or all of this information in separate legal action, I petition that it is incumbent on you as legislative protector of this land's people and other inhabitants, to not grant this application until comprehensive independent assessments have been finished, and can guarantee safety and comfort for the local people and wildlife.
I therefore call for a Public Enquiry under Section 9(3) of the Foreshore Act 1933.