Getting it wrong about Gloucester

October 28th, 2014

There’s more signs of activists incorrectly grasping at straws, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting today on claims that approval was given for coal seam gas exploration in Gloucester prior to the Government receiving proof that chemicals used in the process were safe for human health.

It’s just not true.

Here are the facts about the regulatory framework in New South Wales:

  • A company is required to identify the chemicals to be used prior to approval being granted – see the Office of Coal Seam Gas fact sheet.
  • As a spokesman for Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said in the article, the company does not have to run tests on the chemicals before that date, but is required to provide results of testing to the relevant Government departments prior to work commencing
  • The spokesman also confirmed in the same article that AGL was “compliant with its obligations”.

Here’s some more useful facts – which you can also access through our primer on hydraulic fracturing, and a fact sheet on groundwater protection:

  • On average, fracturing fluid contains more than 99.5% water and sand.
  • Hydraulic fracturing has been used more than 2.5 millions times around the world since 1947, and has been used in Australia since 1969.
  • According to the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, in the 40 years of use in Australia there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination from this process.
  • In Western Australia, where hydraulic fracturing is taking place, operators are required to continuously monitor hydraulic fracturing activities ensuring fluids and fractures stay within the zone they are targeting. This continuous monitoring provides another added layer of protection for our aquifers.
  • In the United States, top regulators and scientists all agree that hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated groundwater.

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