Farmers and environmentalists who are part of the North West Alliance believe the NSW government has failed to enact key coal seam gas
recommendations put forward by its own government inquiry, and have labeled the inquiry a sham, writes Milton Judd of The Friends of the Pilliga.
The inquiry itself showed that coal seam gas development can, and has, contaminated land and water. It also showed not enough is known about coal seam gas, particularly when it comes to groundwater and methane leaks.
Coal seam gas wells have leaked methane and contaminated water, spills have leached arsenic, lead, chromium, salts and petrochemicals into soil, and the industry itself has asserted aquifers will be damaged.
The government has shown complete disregard for the inquiry’s recommendations. They have lifted the freeze on fracking, even though chemicals have not yet been assessed for their intended use and toxicity.
Barry O’Farrell and his team are continuing to break their promises to rural NSW, they are not listening to the coal seam gas concerns of our communities and not heeding the advice of their own inquiry.
The inquiry was conducted by a number of Upper House politicians, and a majority of those on the panel recommended:
* Fracking be banned while chemicals are assessed;
* That all wells require aquifer interference approval, that is, rule out wells that could damage groundwater systems;
* A ban on the open storage of produced water;
* Appoint a petroleum ombudsman; and
*That coal seam gas production requires access agreements with landholders.
Yet even these recommendations have been rejected by the government at this time.
The disregard for recommendations points to the inquiry being a sham; one that wasted the resources of government, individuals, communities and organisations. The government is not only ignoring calls from communities for a science-first approach, it is even ignoring recommendations from its own inquiry.
In the face of government betrayal on coal seam gas, our community is willing to do the hard yards to keep our region gasfield free until these recommendations are properly enacted.