An attempt to place a permanent moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing in Tasmania was voted down by the State Government on Wednesday.
Tasmanian Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor put forward the ban on the grounds that the technique is damaging to the environment and to human health.
Fracking has been safely conducted in North America since the 1940s and in Australia since the 1960s. But because of activist dogma, misleading movies and ill-informed celebrities, public perceptions continue to be challenged.
Tasmania is currently mid-way through a five year moratorium on fracking, which will expire in March 2020.
We would encourage the Government to use this time to source fact-based, scientific data, evidence and reports to provide a clearer image of an industry which not only stimulates employment and State economics, but that can be done safely and without negative impact to the environment.
But that can be a challenge when the public are consistently fed fictitious ‘evidence’ by activist groups such as Lock the Gate who, for example, love to broadcast a misleading image of a Wyoming oil field anytime fracking or onshore natural gas development is mentioned.
It’s an alarmist image – and one that frankly doesn’t stack up in Australian context. Much like the other claim circling about the residents of Dimock Pennsylvania living in an “industrial wasteland”.
A robust Government or regulator would never allow development to that extreme and also as drilling for natural gas can be performed using one well pad with directional drilling techniques allowing multiple drill holes to be completed from the same pad.
Technology in this industry is advancing, allowing for greater extraction of a resource with less impact on the natural environment – and that’s a positive.
And as was stated at the time the moratorium went into effect in Tasmania, exploration for resources that doesn’t involve fracking are able to continue, with then Resources Minister Paul Harriss telling the ABC:
“Exploration will allow us to better understand whether Tasmania has an economically viable resource and its potential impacts.
“This allows mining and energy exploration to continue while the state’s economic prospects for energy, and our understanding of the economic viability of the resource, may change over time.”