Australia govt must ban fracking – report by Esmarie Swanepoel, Senior Deputy Editor, May 5, 2016, Mining Weekly
An interim report by a Select Committee on unconventional gas mining in Australia has recommended that the federal government work with state and territory governments to ban the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, across the country.
In November, the Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on unconventional gas mining to review the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining, including coal seam gas (CSG) and shale gas mining.
Chaired by Queensland senator Glenn Lazarus, the committee conducted a number of public hearings and heard submissions from industry participants, as well as affected communities.
Apart from recommending a ban on all fracking activities across Australia, the Select Committee, in its interim report, also recommended that the Commonwealth government work with state and territory governments to develop a national strategy to manage the conduct of unconventional gas mining in Australia, with Lazarus calling into question the state and territory government’s ability to adequately regulate the unconventional gas industry.
“Unconventional gas mining is a highly technical activity and significant expertise is required to conduct the industry as well as to monitor and regulate it. The chair questions whether state and territory governments have the resources required to provide detailed regulatory oversight of unconventional gas mining,” the report read.
Instead, the Select Committee suggested that the Commonwealth government appoint an unconventional gas mining commissioner to oversee the conduct, management, regulation and compliance of the entire industry on a national basis.
It also suggested that a resource ombudsman be appointed to support Australians affected by mining, particularly in areas where CSG was present. [Will the Australian Ombudsman be set up with the same silencing purpose as Alberta’s? One that prevents citizens who beg the Ombudsman for help, from any other proceeding, court hearing, or due process?]
[WOW! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE RECOMMENDATION! WILL INDUSTRY ALLOW THIS IN ANY JURISDICTION? THE ACCUMULATED DAMNING EVIDENCE WOULD LIKELY END THE FRAC INDUSTRY GLOBALLY. IT’S HIGHLY UNLIKELY INDUSTRY WILL ALLOW THIS RECOMMENDATION TO MAKE IT TO THE FINAL REPORT] It was also recommended that a community legal service be established to provide land-holders and those affected by the resource industry and unconventional gas mining industry with access to free legal advice, and that the federal government establish a dedicated health and medical service to ensure that those affected by resource projects have access to health services.
[BIGGER WOW!] Further, the Select Committee recommended that land-holders be given the immediate right to refuse mining on their land.
It was also suggested that legislation should be introduced to ban donations from resource companies to political parties, and that the Commonwealth government work with state and territory governments to “urgently” transition to green energy to ensure that the country’s power supply was ensured.
[TOO PREDICTABLE?] The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) blasted the interim report, saying that it did not identify any factual or scientific evidence to support the fear campaign peddled by industry opponents.
[A few reality checks, of many:
Australian Petroleum Association: Coal seam damage to water inevitable by The Sydney Morning Herald, August 3, 2011.
The coal seam gas industry has conceded that extraction will inevitably contaminate aquifers. “Drilling will, to varying degrees, impact on adjoining aquifers,” said the spokesman, Ross Dunn. “The intent of saying that is to make it clear that we have never shied away from the fact that there will be impacts on aquifers,” Mr Dunn said.
2015: Linc Energy’s Massive Frac’d Land Time Bomb (like Encana’s at Rosebud?), “Executives could face the prospect of jail. Damage has been going on for years.” Secret report reveals more than 300 sq km of severe contamination to groundwater, prime agricultural land and air near Chinchilla, SE Queensland
2015: If frac’ing is safe & wonderful, why so many gag orders, why is fracking killing hope, people, fish, animals, vegetation, water, air, soil, and busting caprock? Why so much fraud by regulators, politicians, companies, NGOs, experts, academics etc covering up murderous corporate crimes: threats, bullying, abuse; dropping rodent shit into water wells of the harmed; trespassing, home invasions, interrogations of harmed families by police; intimidation; “terrorist” labeling to violate rights of citizens filing lawsuits? George Bender “died of a broken heart” says family.
2016: “Mr Bender’s death was ‘a snap decision’ after Origin Energy tried to force him to sell.” Family of George Bender Submission to Senate Inquiry into Regulation of CSG (CBM) Industry: 1,000 pigs dead due to gas industry pollution
2016: Frac ‘n Fraud Down Under: Origin Energy execs kept aquifer contamination secret for more than 1.5 years, knew CSG (CBM) wells leaking into aquifers. Are Origin Energy CSG (CBM) wells contaminating Condamine River with ‘intensifying’ methane bubbling too?
“Despite Senator Lazarus’s best efforts to enflame the debate, the committee report contains no evidence to support his headline-seeking attacks on the industry,” said Appea CEO Dr Malcolm Roberts. He added that the industry saw the inquiry as an opportunity to put the facts on the public record, and appreciated the “genuine interest” shown by Coalition and Labour senators participating in the inquiry.
“Most senators acknowledge that the claims made against the industry are flimsy and anecdotal. They also acknowledge the industry’s positive economic contribution.
“A compelling body of evidence from leading scientific institutions and independent experts shows that a properly regulated unconventional gas industry does not threaten the environment or public health. Again, most Senators who participated in the inquiry recognised this point.
“Activists and others opposed to the industry are entitled to be heard, but decision-making must be based on factual evidence.
“Unfortunately, the inquiry’s chair has shown that he is not interested in the facts. His recommendations are not supported by the evidence presented to the inquiry and, not surprisingly, are not supported by the majority of his committee members,” said Roberts. [Emphasis added]
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