US anti-fracking activist calls on Port of Cork to halt any gas import plans

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

December 21st, 2019

A US anti-fracking activist delivered a petition in Cork yesterday against the potential importation of liquefied natural gas from Brownsville Port in South Texas to the Port of Cork.

Rebekah Hinojosa, a member of the US anti-fracking group Save Rio Grande Valley from LNG travelled to Ireland to meet with Irish anti-fracking activists at the Port of Cork yesterday.

Ms Hinojosa delivered the petition signed by almost 3,500 people to officials from the harbour company, alongside Green Party Councillor Lorna Bogue yesterday morning.

A coalition of international climate activists also released a letter yesterday urging the Port of Cork to cancel its MoU with American company NextDecade in relation to possible future LNG imports.

Speaking to The Green News, Ms Hinojosa said that Port officials were “appreciative to hear from me” but did not voice any commitment to stop the proposed project.

Ms Hinojosa continued that she and her fellow activists in South Texas “don’t want their communities to be sacrificed” so that “dirty fracked gas” can be exported to Ireland.

“Right now, the Port of Cork can make a very important decision and drop the Cork LNG terminal project,” she continued. “We’re going to continue to pressure them [as] importing fracked gas to Ireland where fracking has been banned is hypocritical.”

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a process for extracting that gas by drilling into rocks and injecting pressurised water, sand and various chemicals to force out the gas. The majority of LNG exported from the US comes from the fracking industry.

Ms Hinojosa also met with members of the Irish anti-fracking movement, well as members of Extinction Rebellion Cork and teenage climate activists from the rebel county.

The activists, joined by Green Party Councillors Dan Boyle and Alan O’Connor, held a protest outside the City Council office and then marched to the Port of Cork chanting slogans including, “LNG, don’t you dare, Shannon, Cork or anywhere”.

Aideen O’Dochartaigh, an activist with Not Here, Not Anywhere, told The Green News that her group first contacted American activists in 2017. “We have banned fracking here, but we are still proposing to import fracked gas from the US and not thinking about the people there,” she said.

Activists against possible Cork LNG project Photo: Shamim Malekmian

Ms O’Dochartaigh said that she was optimistic that collaborative initiatives with American activists from South Texas might discourage the Port of Cork company from pursuing the project. “I’m optimistic that they will ultimately cancel the project and realise that we can be investing in renewable energy and there are loads of opportunities for Ireland to be a leader in doing that.”

Calls for the annulment of plans to import LNG to Cork became more prominent in the last few weeks following the passing of a Green Party motion urging the Port to cancel any plans to provide LNG import infrastructure.

The Port of Cork Company declined to comment at this time, and NextDecade did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The Port of Cork Company declined to comment at this time, and NextDecade did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.