Natural gas extraction – including fracking – poses no threat to human health and the environment, despite the claims of ‘Chicken Little alarmists’, argues Steve Wright.
In the sleight-of-hand movie ‘Gasland’, Josh Fox warned of the “industrial wasteland” which would be created by fracking in Pennsylvania. The Aussie anti-hero ‘Frackman’ followed the Fox formula, but really jumped the shark by predicting fracking would “destroy the world”.
A common cry from anti-industry activist groups is that the human health impacts of unconventional gas development are not known, a claim that then becomes a proxy for why industry development should not be allowed to proceed.
Anti-gas activists delight in claiming that rising gas prices in Australia are a result of some kind of conspiracy by gas companies to lift profits.
A report released this month by a Perth-based academic, Dr Ryan Vogwill, has suggested that the well-understood practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) could pose a risk to Western Australian groundwater – and therefore it should be banned.
Anti-fracking activists use similar playbooks here as they do overseas, particularly in the USA, from where many of the activist tactics are spawned.