Fracking debate underway in Tasmania

November 11th, 2014

The Tasmanian Government has embarked on a process of public consultation and review about hydraulic fracturing as it considers policy options for the development of onshore gas reserves in the island state.

In March 2014 the Tasmanian Government introduced a 12-month moratorium fracking in Tasmania. The moratorium fulfilled a policy commitment that includes a review into fracking in Tasmania.

Under the terms of reference, the review will examine potential uses for hydraulic fracturing, as well as taking into account best practice environmental and safety standards.

Quite properly, the review has been tasked with considering potential impacts on agriculture, groundwater and the broader Tasmanian environment, along with the potential economic costs benefits that the use of hydraulic fracturing could deliver to Tasmania.

There’s a detailed issues paper that the State’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Waterways & the Environment (DPIPWE) has released, providing a balanced overview of the technology and process behind hydraulic fracturing.

The discussion paper also includes a section discussing possible non-hydrocarbon uses for fracking, including increasing the flow from groundwater bores and activating geothermal energy wells.

Presumably these are two measures that local activists won’t oppose (although you can never be sure…).

If local media interest in the issue is any guide (and it usually is), the debate about hydraulic fracturing will be alive and well for some time.

ERIC’s Steve Wright and self-appointed ‘accidental activist’ Dayne Pratzky were both interviewed on ABC Radio Northern Tasmania recently.

You can listen to both interviews here.

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