Looking closer to home for fracking facts

May 29th, 2015

There’s a South Australian group heading to the US next month to learn about hydraulic fracturing and how it may affect natural resources and residents.  The question is why the group needs to go all the way to the US when there are plenty of places to visit right here in Australia – in SA and three neighbouring States and territories.

Hydraulic fracturing is a very mature engineering technique.  It has been in use in South Australia since the late 1960s, and for 15 years in New South Wales and 20 years in Queensland and the NT.

So why do the group, which includes farmers and a number of MPs, feel the need to go to the US to search for facts, rather than look at more relevant examples in their own back yard?

The answer most likely lies in the sort of ‘discoveries’  the group want to ‘find’ and where they are most likely to find them.  And that is the US, because the US hosts the headquarters of anti-fracking activism.

Mind you, the group will have to be selective, because there are dozens of States in the US where natural gas extraction and fracking are welcomed, and those who are trying to close the industry down are not.

Judging by the comments one of the group, farmer David Smith, made on Adelaide radio and in regional newspapers recently, the group will follow the trail laid out in the discredited anti-fracking movie Gasland.

Anyone viewing this movie needs to see  also Truthland, created as a counterpoint to Gasland to correct the misinformation.

All of the claims made by Mr Smith about environmental and health risks supposedly associated with fracking have been addressed by Australian authorities including Queensland Health, CSIRO, the Environmental Protection Authority and the NSW Chief Scientist and are detailed on the Energy Resource Information Centre website.

By looking to the examples at home, Mr Smith would find the following:

  • Fracking is a well understood engineering process which has been used safely in North America since 1947 and in Australia since the 1960s.
  • There have been no environmental calamities in 2.5 million instance of fracking in north America Europe and Australia.
  • There have been no established cases of harm to humans or animals or damage to habitats.
  • Fracking has not caused groundwater contamination.
  • Fracking is used in renewable energy creation – in ‘hot rock’ geothermal energy, without opposition from environmental activists

Hopefully, the tour group will pay attention to the economic renaissance in the US, delivered primarily through lower cost energy – natural gas, often produced using fracking.

They might also pay attention to how this move to natural gas has helped the US cut carbon emissions growth – a fact applauded by environmental groups all over the world.



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