Freedom Information

The Secretary,

Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications,

Energy and Natural Resources.

Elm House, Earlsvale Rd., Cavan

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

29 July, 2011

 

Request under access to information on the environment legislation (Directive 2003/4/EC) and its implementing Statutory Instrument No 133 of 2007

 

Onshore Petroleum Licensing over the Northwest Carboniferous Basin and the Clare Basin

 




 

Dear Sirs;

 

1. General Issues

 

1.1 We note from your website that you make no mention of the above legislation, which ensures access to information on the environment and which unlike Freedom of Information legislation requires no fee. We would be grateful if you made information on this legislation available on your website without further delay. A fee is a barrier to access to information on the environment which is not permitted under Irish law. Please confirm to us that you will address this issue.

 

1.2 We note that you have not posted any details of request under Freedom of Information since November, 2010 as you are required to do. Please confirm to us that will address this issue.

 

1.3 We note that the links to ‘Access to data' and ‘Clarification Requests' given on your Onshore Petroleum Licensing over the Northwest Carboniferous Basin and the Clare Basin ‘Announcement' give ‘server not found'. Please confirm to us that will address this issue.

 

1.4 We are unable to access data in relation to our request on your search facility under Licensing Options for the subject of this request. Please confirm to us that will address this issue.


2. Our Request

 

2.1 We are seeking details of the environmental impact of the Onshore Petroleum Licensing Options over the Northwest Carboniferous Basin and Clare Basin which you have agreed to with Tamboran Resources PTY Ltd,  Enegi Oil Plc, and the Lough Allen Natural Gas Company Ltd.

 

In this regard, we draw your attention to but do not limit our request to section 5.2 (e), and Section 10.2, (k) of the Notice of Competition, (duplicated) requests for the applicants statements on the environment.

 

 

2.2 We are seeking details of any assessment made by your Department or by anyone employed by your Department, either directly or through consultancies or by any other method, of the environmental impact the Onshore Petroleum Licensing Options over the Northwest Carboniferous Basin and Clare Basin which you have agreed to with Tamboran Resources PTY Ltd,  Enegi Oil Plc, and the Lough Allen Natural Gas Company Ltd.

 

We do not seek any financial details and our request is limited solely to environmental issues.

 

Bother of these requests seek any records that you hold which include inter allia reports, minutes of meetings, emails, both internal within your Department and with any other Government Department, and any other records in any format. When possible, we request these records in electronic format.

 

We would be grateful for an acknowledgement of this request.

 

Yours, etc.,

 

Tony Lowes

 

 

 

FIE has written to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to have the password restrictions removed from the newly established register of extractive industries.

The Register, which much be completed by each local authority by December 31, 2010, must list all mines, quarries, and peat extraction in their areas. However the EPA is not allowing public access to the Register, a clear infringement of the legislation ensuring that any information which impacts on the environment must be made publicly available.

Quarries in particular have remained in legal limbo for more than 10 years and this concealment of the extent of the problem can only contribute to the problems of residents across the country.

Read our request     |  And read our Appeal against their initial refusal


The Office of the Information Commissioner ruled that a case FIE had taken against the Attorney General was ‘settled' when late into the appeal process the document was released. While provision for settlement exists in the Freedom of Information legislation, the Access to Information legislation requires a decision once a case is begun regardless of the release of the information.

FIE believes that in many cases, such as this one, [there were 55 cases settled under FoI this way last year and 2 under Access] the body holding the information knows from the first that they have no grounds to withhold a document but the information is of such sensitivity that they chose to refuse to release it, knowing that most applicants would neither use the internal appeal method or even less pay €150 to have an administrative review. In the unlikely event that an applicant would do so they could then release it without censure for their sustained refusal as a ‘settlement' is reached.

Read the file - and comments from members of the EEB Law List.

 


FIE has written to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to have the password restrictions removed from the newly established register of extractive industries.

The Register, which much be completed by each local authority by December 31, 2010, must list all mines, quarries, and peat extraction in their areas. However the EPA is not allowing public access to the Register, a clear infringement of the legislation ensuring that any information which impacts on the environment must be made publicly available.

Quarries in particular have remained in legal limbo for more than 10 years and this concealment of the extent of the problem can only contribute to the problems of residents across the country.

Read our request     |  And read our Appeal against their initial refusal


Emily O'Reilly, the Information Commissioner, has disallowed the fee charged by Sligo County Council for providing information on the environment under new Irish Regulations. The Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007) came into effect last year. This implements a 2003 European Directive and operates in parallel to the Freedom of Information Act.

In a case brought by Open Focus in County Sligo, the organization had asked for the details of waste water and sewage treatment plants in the County. Sligo County Council had sought €285 for providing this information. The Commissioner found that Sligo County Council had failed to make available to the public ‘a list of fees charged, information on how they are calculated and the circumstances under which they may be waived'.

The Information Commission also stated that she ‘did not agree' with the Department's Guidelines which permit charging for ‘staff costs connected with searching and retrieving the information'. She had ‘difficulty reconciling this with the Directive's and the Guidelines stricture that that no charge can be made if the requester examines the environmental information in situ'.

URL of decision: http://www.oic.gov.ie/en/LatestNews

FIE Press Release