Who is CDM Smith?
CDM Smith is a Boston-based, global engineering and construction firm with more than 5,000 staff serving public and private clients in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities. CDM Smith has been providing support to the oil and gas exploration and production industry in the United States and internationally in the development and application of best practices to support sound development.
Why is CDM Smith relevant in Ireland?
CDM Smith have been awarded a contract by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out research on the environmental effects of unconventional gas exploration and extraction (UGEE). UGEE is commonly called shale gas and this gas us usually extracted using a technique call hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short.
Surely this is good news, research into the environmental effects of fracking?
Currently there is a lot of concern about the research being carried out, in spite of 1,300 submissions looking to have public health considered there is no medical doctor or health professional on the research team. The focus of the research has changed, what people concerned about UGEE wanted was research to establish if fracking could be carried out safely in Ireland however the research seems to assume that fracking will go ahead and it is assessing how it can be carried out while protecting public health.
Are there other concerns?
There are significant concerns about CDM Smith in particular, they are leading the research consortium so they will be responsible for writing the report. CDM Smith are a pro fracking company. On its website, CDM Smith states that it has worked with Marathon Oil for the “completion of environmental, geotechnical, design and construction management services for its first proposed exploration well pad development in Poland. The Irish Times published an article in which they reported that the Vice President of CDM Smith Kevin Malloy criticised the decision of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to Ban Fracking. CDM Smith make a lot of money from the fracking industry are they here to assist the fracking industry to move into Ireland.
Surely they have a conflict of interest?
It would seem so, yet when CDM Smith had to sign a conflict of interest declaration when awarded the tender by the EPA they stated that they had no conflict of interest. A company that has significant business interaction with the fracking industry being asked to carry out fracking research in Ireland and yet stating that they have no conflict of interest is difficult to understand. This issue was raised by the Irish Times on 17/04/2015 who also highlighted that CDM Smith sponsored The Shale Gas World Europe conference in Warsaw in 2013.
Put simply, CDM Smith is an overtly pro-fracking multinational that the EPA have put in charge of delivering objective research into the health and environmental impacts that fracking will have on us and our environment.
Would you trust this group to deliver objective data that ensures our health and environment are protected? Is it likely that this company will be the ones who will profit hugely providing the solutions to the devastating impacts that fracking will have on our environment and health were it to go ahead?
What Can you do?
Get informed, read as much information on UGEE as you can, make up your own mind. If you are concerned get engaged, lobby your local politicians, write letters, join an environmental group, be part of the movement trying to stop this industry from damaging our environment and harming our health.