*Pic: From the anti-fracking movie, Gasland
I am writing with deep concern in regards to “fracking”. Gas company Petragas has the approval for a five year exploration license to look for shale oil and gas in Tasmania’s Midlands.
The process of “Fracking” involves pumping water, sand and an abundance of chemicals into the ground to extract oil and gas. Most of these chemicals used for fracking have not been assessed by the National Chemical Regulator (NICNAS). Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens and teratogens.
These chemical threats also pose risks to crops and animals, undermining Tasmania’s clean and green image and risking Tasmania’s agricultural investments. Landowner’s are not protected by any laws to oppose mining on their land.
In 2013 the Australian Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy resolution urging governments to ensure all future proposals for coal seam gas mining are subject to rigorous and independent health risk assessments, which take into account the potential for exposure to pollutants through air and groundwater and any likely associated health risks.
Fracking has been used in coal seam gas operations in both NSW and QLD. In places located near gas fields such as Tara in QLD, residents have been complaining about ill health for years.
The license covers some of Tasmania’s most productive farmland, as well as a vast network of water tables. Fracking poses risks to agriculture, Tasmania’s tourism industry, Tasmania’s reputation as a clean and green place, as well as the health of all living organisms by contamination of water and air. Renewable technologies such as wind and solar should be exploited before we continue to extract non renewable resources, further damaging our planet and destroying our right to safe drinking water and clean air.
Tasmanian communities are banding together to ask for a moratorium to be placed on Fracking.
I recently helped organised and attended a screening of the documentary “Fractured Country” created by the Lock The Gate Alliance, in which 40 locals of Hobart and residents from Tasmania’s Midlands showed their opposition to fracking and extended their hopes for a Tasmania free of conventional and unconventional gas mining.
Speakers included Brett Hall, a farmer from Oatlands and Kim Booth of the Greens who also showed their support in opposition to fracking in Tasmania.
I believe we have a right to know what we are faced with in the future as residents of Tasmania and to be heard by the Governments and Gas company’s such as Petragas that our fears and rights cannot be ignored.
Carly Rusden ...
... is a student at the University of Tasmania.