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Shell lodges application for last link in project as activists prepare to protest

Shell lodges application for last link in project as activists prepare to protest

Áine Ryan

ROSSPORT Solidarity Camp yesterday announced that its activists plan to ‘Beat the Boreholes’, an essential part of Shell’s upcoming work to complete the controversial Corrib gas project.
The latest twist in the protest comes just days after  Shell E&P Ireland lodged its application for the last link – a pipeline under the Sruwaddacon estuary, a candidate Special Area of Conservation -  in the project. This new route does not go through lands at Rossport. 
Geotechnical work associated with the design of the pipe and tunnel is due to begin soon, with testing involving the drilling of up to 80 boreholes during a designated period, when the Department of the Environment believes it will have minimal impact on wild salmon stocks and on over-wintering birds.
Meanwhile, An Bord Pleanála has set a four-week public consultation period for the proposed routing under the Sruwaddacon estuary and through forestry lands to the Bellanaboy refinery site. The deadline for submissions is July 28 next.
The planning board is also expected to reconvene an oral hearing during the autumn to consider the revised application.
The details of the new proposed route are available on the internet and at Mayo County Council offices in Castlebar and Belmullet.
The entire new route will be 8.3km long – almost a kilometre shorter than the last proposal. Just over half of it will run through the tunnel dug under the Sruwaddacon estuary.
Furthermore, it was announced on the Shell to Sea website yesterday that a ‘continuous mass act of civil disobedience is planned against Shell this Summer in Mayo’.
Entitled ‘Beat the Boreholes’, the posting calls on activists to deter or stop the drilling of the 80 boreholes by various non-violent methods,
It continues: “Actions could range from walking out on the sands to boarding drilling rigs. The aim is to get each of the 80 boreholes assigned a Beat the Borehole group. Between local groups, national Shell to Sea groups, other supportive political groups, groups from abroad, student groups, surfers, kayakers we might just do it!”