Daily Telegraph - Tracy Spicer - 20.9.11
SEAM stimulation sounds like something from a pornographic film. But it’s the new term for ‘fracking’ being used by the coal seam gas industry.
The previous state government whored itself out to mining companies because of the potential to make billions of dollars in royalties and tax revenue. It’s estimated the industry could invest almost $10 billion in development and operating costs.
And late last year, the state Labor government tried to sneak through a bill exposing farmers to criminal charges if they tried to stop exploration on their land. The Greens quickly shot it down.
Now the current government is holding an inquiry into coal seam gas, with the first public hearing tomorrow. Local farmers want WA-style laws, which would give them the right to say yes or no to exploration.
But there’s concern the government’s move to extend the moratorium on fracking until the end of the year is all smoke and mirrors. A statement from NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher said the moratorium applied to “all new coal seam gas exploration and mining licence applications”.
When asked whether this would affect existing licences and renewals, this was the response from Duncan Gay on behalf of the Minister: “The only guarantee that really can be given is that we will try our best to do the right thing.”
Memo to Mr Gay: Trying to do your best is not good enough if our wells start spewing methane.
On Queensland’s Darling Downs, Arrow Energy had to cap a well that was shooting water and gas up to 90m high. And carcinogenic chemicals have been found in a number of its bores.
The company has admitted there’ve been “many” problems at the site since it started drilling 10 years ago.