SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has welcomed an Assembly debate on the banning of onshore exploration for, drilling for and extraction of hydrocarbons in Northern Ireland.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr McGlone said, “The future is one of a decarbonised energy system. This Assembly debate is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to that greener, cleaner future, and to safeguarding the environment for future generations.
“Short-term economic interests cannot be allowed to trump long-term concerns about the impact on public health or the environment.
“The long-term impact on our climate of the continued exploitation of hydrocarbons is now centre stage where it should be. That impact must be a major part of our policy decisions.
“The evidence has been considered by administrations across these islands and they have reached the same conclusion.
“They have all recognised that regulation of the activities of the companies involved in this practice is not sufficient.
“Onshore extraction of hydrocarbons is not safe. It has a detrimental impact on the local environment. It undermines efforts to reduce the use of hydrocarbons as an energy source locally and globally.
“There should be an immediate moratorium on all onshore petroleum licencing in the North.
“Legislation must be brought forward to ban all exploration for, drilling for, and extraction of hydrocarbons in Northern Ireland.
“Here in the North, as across the world, our young people are demanding a Climate Reset.
“This debate is an opportunity to let our young people know that we are listening to them and that we are committed to a greener, cleaner future for all.”