Gas rules. Just look around the world. Fracked gas has made the US self-sufficient in energy for the first time since she outgrew her oil wells. Russia is financially solvent largely because she supplies the energy (gas) to Europe to run their industries and heat their homes. China is buying into Russian gas as fast as she can, already having reportedly secured all the output from Turkmenistan and most of Iran’s.
And now the NT. It is true that an export market worth billions is waiting for any company with the push and shrewdness to grasp this nettle. While I do have grave concerns about fracking, neither my nor the Bilbies’ views will carry this argument. The economic rewards being dangled in front of the governments in Darwin and Canberra are simply too great.
I suspect that our Governments have already been swayed. Consider the railway overpass slated for construction south of town. In a recent poll conducted by Alice Springs News Online, a late comment suggested that it was a push from the mining sector asking (demanding?) that this safety measure be built that carried the day. While I do not know if that is true or not, it makes sense. I mean, why else build it now?
Next comes swaying public opinion. This may prove to be more difficult than swaying money-strapped governments. If the mining companies cannot come up with an argument better than a similarity in the chemicals they use to those found in toothpaste and ice cream, there is public trouble ahead. While not being a chemist, it is my understanding that a tiny difference, let alone a vague similarity, in chemical composition can change a compound from benign to pure poison.
On the gas companies’ side, they do have success in the Cooper Basin to point to. And all that potential wealth. They have already promised the Central Land Council enough to get them on-side.
Will they pay for new roads? I didn’t hear they were stumping up for the overpass.
But Alice’s future may well lie in gas mining. That this industry may use most of our water and contaminate what’s left – well, prove it, is what they’ll say. But by the time it’s proven, if it is, it will be too late to do anything about it.
Welcome to our future. Let’s hope we have one.