2000 protesters to block Metgasco gas drilling by Cowra Community News, March 31, 2014
MORE than 2000 people have joined residents in the Northern Rivers region this morning (Monday) to oppose drilling by gas miner Metgasco, says anti-coal seam gas (CSG) alliance Lock the Gate. The company is undertaking an exploration well at Bentley, west of Lismore, that will target tight sands gas, the group says. Tight sands gas uses unconventional extraction methods like those used to extract CSG [CBM, coalbed methane], and involves large numbers of wells, extensive infrastructure, and “risky fracking processes”.
“We are here at this blockade to try to protect the valuable farmland and quiet rural lifestyle that we value so much from invasive gasfields,” Bentley resident Liz Stops says in a statement. “In a survey undertaken in our local area, 84.5 per cent of 266 residents said that they do not want to live in a gasfield. The property owner where the drilling is scheduled to occur does not even live here. It is the rest of us whose home it is who will have to live with the consequences of this industry,” says Ms Stops.
Bentley landholder Ross Joseph says: “We are enormously grateful that 2000 committed citizens from across the Northern Rivers have come to join us to protect our beautiful region from the impacts of gas industrialisation. We appreciate the extraordinary courage and determination they have shown in opposing these drilling operations. We believe the New South Wales Government is planning to send in large numbers of police to force their way on to the site this morning, on behalf of the gas company. We’re asking them to urgently reconsider that approach, and to instead act now to discontinue unwelcome gas drilling in our region,” Mr Joseph says. [Emphasis added]
Government issues [VOLUNTARY] fracking guidelines ahead of parliamentary watchdog’s report by NBR.co.nz, March 27, 2014
The government has issued what it says are best practice guidelines for undertaking hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, including how to undertake so-called “land farming” and warning that fracking fluids can migrate into drinking water and need to be controlled. Environment Minister Amy Adams issued the guidelines today, ahead of the expected release around Easter of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s final report on fracking. …
The guidelines note also that it’s possible that “the migration of fracturing fluid through pathways could affect water supplies upstream of the discharge point, depending on the nature of the underlying geology.”
While this situation did not trigger the 2008 National Environment Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water on its own, “the risk of this occurring needs to be assessed in an application for hydraulic fracturing, as it may produce adverse effects on upstream water quality.”
The guidelines also cover land farming, the practice of spreading drilling waste onto land to “allow for natural bio-remediation as various soil processes transform and assimilate the waste.” The practice has become controversial since discovery of low compliance with land farming regulations on at least one Taranaki land farm, where cattle were found grazing on pasture where drilling waste had not been fully treated. The guidelines also make clear that flow-back fluids from the fracking process should not be spread on agricultural land.
Government sets best-practice [VOLUNTARY] fracking guidelines by Audrey Young, March 28, 2014, New Zealand Herald
The Government has just set [VOLUNTARY] best-practice guidelines for fracking in various parts of the country. But the Greens have said the timing of its release shows disrespect to Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright who is due to release her final report on fracking in two months. And MP Gareth Hughes said the Government should be developing statutory standards, not just guidelines. Environment Minister Amy Adams said the guidelines clarified the regulatory roles of central and local government relating to fracking and gave guidance to local government to manage activity under the Resource Management Act 1991. … “The guidelines clarify the responsibilities of councils from initial investigation and planning to consenting and will support councils so that environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing are managed appropriately across the country.” The Ministry for the Environment would be monitoring the effectiveness of the guidelines as they were implemented over the next year.
The report draws heavily on the experience in Taranaki where fracking has occurred for about 25 years. Mr Hughes said the guidelines were pre-empting Jan Wright’s final fracking report – her interim report recommending no ban on fracking was released in November 2012. …
“The Government has been more focused on cheer-leading for fracking than an actually providing rules.” There were nothing in the guidelines that would stop cows being put in to paddocks that had been spread with oil and gas waste. [Emphasis added]
[VOLUNTARY] Fracking guidelines warn of water risk by 3News.co.nz, March 28, 2014
“Best practice” guidelines issued by the government for hydraulic fracturing warn that fracking fluids need to be controlled so they don’t contaminate drinking water. Environment Minister Amy Adams issued the guidelines on Thursday, ahead of the expected release around Easter of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s final report on fracking.
The new government guidelines say fracking applications will need to specifically address whether registered drinking water sources are located downstream, to what extent the activities will affect these supplies, and ways to ensure effects are “avoided, remedied or mitigated”. The guidelines note also that it’s possible fracking fluids could affect water supplies upstream of the discharge point, depending on the geology, so applications need to take that into account.
The guidelines also cover land farming, the practice of spreading drilling waste onto land. The practice has become controversial since discovery of low compliance with land farming regulations on at least one Taranaki farm, where cattle were found grazing on pasture where drilling waste had not been fully treated. The guidelines make clear that flow-back fluids from the fracking process should not be spread on agricultural land. “The disposal of return fluid from hydraulic fracturing operations (including formation fluid) using land-based disposal is not endorsed by these guidelines,” say the guidelines for local government published on the Ministry for the Environment website. [Emphasis added]