Fracking 'guiding principles' are no protection


Sir –  The NT Government’s new “guiding principles” for hydraulic fracturing are too weak to provide any real protection from the risks of fracking.
While we welcome moves to strengthen the existing weak regulatory framework around fracking, these weak and unenforceable guiding principles will result in environmental contamination and provide no protection for landholders and communities.
• They rely solely on operator self-regulation and are not enforceable.
• They do not clearly specify appropriate management techniques on site for the toxic drilling muds and waste water produced from fracking operations.
• They endorse the re-use of fracking waste water while this approach has proved unsuccessful in other jurisdictions.
• There are currently no legal disposal facilities in the NT for the disposal of contaminated drilling mud or flow back water.
• They do not provide clear limitations on the toxicity of chemicals to be used or require that chemicals used have been assessed for their toxicological impacts on the environment and human health.
• They do not specify ‘safe’ separation distances between fracture propagation heights and aquifers.
• They do not provide veto rights for landholders and communities that will be adversely affected by fracking operations.
We are calling for a moratorium on the issuing of exploration licenses for shale gas which involve fracking until it can be proven to be 100% safe for the environment and the community.
Overseas experience has shown that no amount of regulation can protect land and water resources from the impacts of fracking and unconventional gas extraction.
The first step of any regulatory regime must be the implementation of mandated exclusion zones to protect our vital water resources, community living areas and iconic natural and cultural areas.
Tanya Hall
Central Australian Frack Free Alliance


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