The Environmental Pillar condemns the decision to continue burning peat in power stations past 2019 and calls for a transition to sustainable jobs in the Midlands.
The Environmental Pillar, an advocacy coalition made up of 28 Irish environmental NGOs, is calling for a reversal of the decision by ESB and Bord na Móna to continue to operate two peat-fired power stations past 2019.
The stations are located in west Offaly and at Lough Ree. The decision to extend their operation was revealed a letter to Bord na Móna workers yesterday from the company’s chief executive Mike Quinn.
He said the ESB had confirmed to Bord na Móna that they want to continue both power stations well beyond 2019 when the current fuel supply agreement between the two semi-State companies is due to expire.
Spokesman for the Environmental Pillar Charles Stanley-Smith said:
“It is long past time to end the burning of peat for fuel. We have been collectively subsidising the burning of peat since a Public Service Obligation was imposed on all electricity consumers in 2001. Hundreds of millions of electricity customer’s money has been converted to greenhouse gases by subsidising the use of the most polluting fossil fuel of all. It is time to instead our money wisely.
“Instead of now trying to keep Bord na Móna workers employed at reduced pay and conditions, we need to recognise this is a sunset industry and arrange for a just transition to sustainable employment in the Midlands. There is extensive work to be done rewetting and restoring our raised bogs, so that they can lock up and store carbon, provide habitat for wildlife and enable eco-tourism, which will give local people a much better long-term income. Bord na Móna workers have the necessary expertise for bog rewetting and restoration and Bord na Móna should dedicate itself to undoing some of the damage which has been done.
“It is disgraceful that the management of Bord na Móna are simultaneously trying to continue to destroy the bogs and reduce the conditions of their own workers.”