Belfast Telegraph

'The Hulk' Mark Ruffalo backs campaign to prevent oil drilling at Woodburn Forest

By Claire Williamson

The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo has added his backing to a campaign to prevent exploratory oil drilling at a Carrickfergus forest.

The PSNI is patrolling Woodburn Forest as residents and environmentalists protest against drilling.

Oil company Infrastrata wants to drill an exploratory well near Woodburn Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to Larne, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and large areas of Belfast.

<< Read Mark Ruffalo's full letter to Minister Durkan in full >>

Campaigners from the Stop The Drill said everyone who receives water from the reservoir should be concerned.

However Infrastrata says the site has been leased by Northern Ireland Water, which has said it is confident there is no threat to the water supply.

Now Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo, who played Marvel Comics character The Hulk (Bruce Banner) in The Avengers, has written to Northern Ireland's environment minister Mark H Durkan about his concerns of the water becoming contaminated.

He slammed Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for not gauging public opinion through consultation.

The council has admitted a waste management plan has not yet been approved for the exploratory drill - this process required a public consultation that has not taken place.

Read more:

Woodburn oil drill protest campaigners' dismay as trees start coming down in natural haven 

Road race ace Glenn Irwin joins anti-drilling protest in forest where he played

Oil drill protesters at Woodburn Forest in Antrim bid to halt Infrastrata exploration work 

Ruffalo, a clean water advocate and founder of Water Defense, penned the letter after local residents in Northern Ireland contacted the organisation.

The letter notes: "Only 2 percent of the world's freshwater is available for us, yet that available water is beginning to dwindle into what experts say will become a worldwide water crisis. It is critical that we protect our freshwater drinking supplies."

It adds: "It is also troubling that your Department, whose responsibility is for the Environment, is not intervening to stop this activity that appears to be unlawful given the fact that a Waste Management Plan (The Planning of Management of Waste from Extractive Industries 2015) was required before permitted development was granted and that environmental considerations have not been adequately assessed.

"It is extraordinary that on this sensitive site there has been no public scrutiny through the planning process and there has been no Environmental Impact Assessment."

It ends: "We implore you to protect your citizens by protecting their water. The small amount of oil and gas that can be extracted from that site pales in comparison to the nightmare that contaminating the water supply for over 131,000 residents in your community would cause."

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