Northern Ireland

Mark Ruffalo: Hollywood star weighs into Woodburn Forest oil row

Mark Ruffalo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mark Ruffalo is famous for his role in campaigning on environmental issues

A Hollywood superstar has weighed into a dispute over a controversial oil well in Northern Ireland.

Actor Mark Ruffalo who played superhero The Incredible Hulk, has written to the authorities in support of protesters.

They are campaigning against an exploratory oil well at Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

Mr Ruffalo, who founded an organisation called Water Defense had written to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan outlining his concerns.

Image copyright Everett/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption Ruffalo is famous for his role as the Hulk in the Avengers film

Water Defense is a non-profit organisation dedicated to clean water.

Mr Ruffalo's letter has been copied to First Minister Arlene Foster and the planning authority, Mid & East Antrim Council.

Northern Ireland Water has also received a copy.

In it, Mr Ruffalo said there are many "concerning facts" about the case.

Protesters have objected to the well because they say it is part of the catchment for a reservoir that supplies water to thousands of homes in Belfast and Carrick.

They claim chemicals used in the drill process could leach into the water table.

Northern Ireland Water, which has leased the drill site to oil company Infrastrata, said the project would not compromise the water supply.

Infrastrata has outlined measures that it will take to protect groundwater.

These include collection of surface water at the site and protection of the drill shaft by encasing it in steel and concrete.

In his letter, Mr Ruffalo said the "small amount" of oil and gas that might be found "pales in comparison" to the importance of protecting the water supply.

Water Defense said it would be sending testing kits to local residents and will be monitoring the situation.

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