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IT’S incredible that the Corrib pipeline planning battle is still not yet resolved after 10 years.
This project is vital for Ireland’s future to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels, to tackle global warming and reduce pollution.
Gas reserves in the Kinsale and North Sea fields are severely depleted and most gas now comes from Russia via thousands of miles of pipeline, vulnerable to interruption at any time, as has happened to several east European countries.
Bord Pleanála rubber stamps environmentally destructive developments and never objects to road schemes, abrogating their duty to take a broad, long-term view; they exclude considerations of peak oil, global warming and pollution, or alternatives such as railways.
Ireland has the most lax planning controls in the EU, and yet amazingly Bord Pleanála upheld objections to this essential and relatively innocuous project.
Opposition to the gas pipeline, like opposition to nuclear power and wind farms, seems to be based on ignorance, superstition and mythology. There are millions of miles of gas pipelines throughout the world and the number of people killed by explosions is in mere hundreds over 50 years – far less than the number of people killed every single day on the roads. Traffic pollution kills five-to-10 times as many people. Pipelines are designed for their working pressure and numerous fail-safe devices are incorporated.
There is no such thing as a gas refinery. Crude oil is refined; gas is processed. It is almost pure methane, it only needs to be metered, impurities removed, pressurised or depressurised and mercaptan added to give it a smell. The only site discharges would be process water; there is very little noise and no air pollution.
I have worked in the oil and gas industry for a number of years, including the design of a gas terminal. Numerous specialist engineers exercise strict health and safety controls. I am not a pipeline expert, but at least I am fully qualified chartered engineer.
We live in a highly technological world, yet very few politicians, bureaucrats or media pundits have even a basic understanding of physics, science or mathematics and are therefore incapable of forming a sensible opinion on today’s technical problems involving energy, transport, global warming and peak oil.
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