Further to last weekend’s debate on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – held in Launceston as part of the Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival – a reminder to put in your submission before Friday’s 5th December deadline about whether the process should be reintroduced into Tasmania.

There are serious environmental risks associated with fracking, particularly in respect of underground water contamination, and the degradation of prime agricultural land through leeching of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

Prior to the election Premier Will Hodgman provided no indication his government would lift the ban on fracking, so the decision to seek public comment so close to the end of the year when most people are focused on summer holidays and the festive season, is of concern.

A few points learned during the BOFA discussion, which should give pause for thought, include:

• Drilling can be as deep as 3km below the ground – so the risks to the underground water supplies are significant, and potentially irreversible
• Environmental degradation is horizontal, ie the fracking process affects surrounding land and properties for many kilometres, not just the property where drilling occurs
• The integrity of existing wells is zero. In Queensland, where fracking is the subject of a lot of controversy and public opposition, an area with 43 wells was tested after the first frack: all were contaminated
• There is seismic activity from fracking that has been linked to the heavy metals and radiation released during the process. Parts of Tasmania are known to be on a fault line, (eg Tamar Valley) why needlessly risk earthquake activity by allowing mining companies to frack?
• Agriculture is a significant contributor to Tasmania’s overall economy – a contribution that would be jeopardised by fracking
• Some FAQs and answers in response to the film Gasland http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking

A few points to consider from the report prepared by National Toxics Network into the risks associated with fracking:

Methane contamination of water was evident in an analysis of 60 water wells near active gas wells in the US.34 Most were contaminated with methane at levels well above US federal government safety guidelines for methane. The majority of water wells situated one kilometre or less from a gas well, contained water contaminated with 19 to 64 parts per million of methane. Wells more than a kilometre from active gas had only a few parts per million of methane in their water. The study used chemical and isotopic analyses to identify the high levels of methane in well water as being produced in the deep shale, released by gas drilling activities. In Australia, sampling of CSG released water from Bohena Creek in the Pilliga Forest, New South Wales, detected methane at the Eastern Star Gas discharge site at 68 micrograms per litre (ug/l), whereas it was not detected in the upstream control sample.35”

Australia Research on fugitive emissions 40 used atmospheric radon (222Rn) and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to measure fugitive emissions in the CSG fields of the Tara region, Queensland. They measured a 3 fold increase in maximum 222Rn concentration inside the gas field compared to outside and also a significant relationship with the number of wells. They suggest that CSG activities may change the geological structure and enhance diffuse soil gas exchange processes, helping gases to seep through the soil to be released to the atmosphere. The presence of 222Rn and CO2 suggests the release of other gaseous substances, such as VOCs, which can be very harmful to human health.

Human exposure can occur through direct skin contact with the chemicals or wastes;

drinking or bathing in contaminated water (surface, bore/well); by breathing in vapors from flowback, evaporation ponds or stored wastes; and through contaminated dust particulates. There are many incidents of communities reporting adverse human and animal health impacts.

Where fracking has been carried out in other parts of the world a noticeable increase in health issues affecting local communities is evident:

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26930029/one-dead-following-fracking-accident-weld-county

http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20141113/NEWS01/141119822/Emissions-still-high-despite-regulations-

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-14/fracking-boom-spurs-demand-for-sand-and-clouds-of-dust.html

http://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2014/nov/06/kale-fracking-corporations-farmers-drought

Public comments are accepted up to Friday 5th December. They don’t have to be a 3000-word essay. A single page will suffice. Please consider having your say.

REVIEW OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN TASMANIA

The Dept. of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment is seeking submissions for its Review into Hydraulic Fracturing in Tasmania. Further information and a copy of the Issues Paper can be obtained by emailingfracking.review@dpipwe.tas.gov.au or as a hard copy phone 6165-3134.
Submissions should be received by 5pm Friday 5th December 2014 and sent by post to;
The Project Team- Review of hydraulic fracturing in Tasmania
Dept of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment
G.P.O. Box 44, HOBART Tas 7001 or by email to fracking.review@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Further to last weekend’s debate on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – held in Launceston as part of the Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival – a reminder to put in your submission before Friday’s 5th December deadline about whether the process should be reintroduced into Tasmania.

There are serious environmental risks associated with fracking, particularly in respect of underground water contamination, and the degradation of prime agricultural land through leeching of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

Prior to the election Premier Hodgman provided no indication his government would lift the ban on fracking, so the decision to seek public comment so close to the end of the year when most people are focused on summer holidays and the festive season, is of concern.

A few points learned during the BOFA discussion, which should give pause for thought, include:

• Drilling can be as deep as 3km below the ground – so the risks to the underground water supplies are significant, and potentially irreversible
• Environmental degradation is horizontal, ie the fracking process affects surrounding land and properties for many kilometres, not just the property where drilling occurs
• The integrity of existing wells is zero. In Queensland, where fracking is the subject of a lot of controversy and public opposition, an area with 43 wells was tested after the first frack: all were contaminated
• There is seismic activity from fracking that has been linked to the heavy metals and radiation released during the process. Parts of Tasmania are known to be on a fault line, (eg Tamar Valley) why needlessly risk earthquake activity by allowing mining companies to frack?
• Agriculture is a significant contributor to Tasmania’s overall economy – a contribution that would be jeopardised by fracking
• Some FAQs and answers in response to the film Gasland http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/whats-fracking

A few points to consider from the report prepared by National Toxics Network into the risks associated with fracking: (the highlighted/underlined bits are mine)

Methane contamination of water was evident in an analysis of 60 water wells near active gas wells in the US.34 Most were contaminated with methane at levels well above US federal government safety guidelines for methane. The majority of water wells situated one kilometre or less from a gas well, contained water contaminated with 19 to 64 parts per million of methane. Wells more than a kilometre from active gas had only a few parts per million of methane in their water. The study used chemical and isotopic analyses to identify the high levels of methane in well water as being produced in the deep shale, released by gas drilling activities. In Australia, sampling of CSG released water from Bohena Creek in the Pilliga Forest, New South Wales, detected methane at the Eastern Star Gas discharge site at 68 micrograms per litre (ug/l), whereas it was not detected in the upstream control sample.35”

Australia Research on fugitive emissions 40 used atmospheric radon (222Rn) and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to measure fugitive emissions in the CSG fields of the Tara region, Queensland. They measured a 3 fold increase in maximum 222Rn concentration inside the gas field compared to outside and also a significant relationship with the number of wells. They suggest that CSG activities may change the geological structure and enhance diffuse soil gas exchange processes, helping gases to seep through the soil to be released to the atmosphere. The presence of 222Rn and CO2 suggests the release of other gaseous substances, such as VOCs, which can be very harmful to human health.

Human exposure can occur through direct skin contact with the chemicals or wastes;

drinking or bathing in contaminated water (surface, bore/well); by breathing in vapors from flowback, evaporation ponds or stored wastes; and through contaminated dust particulates. There are many incidents of communities reporting adverse human and animal health impacts.

Where fracking has been carried out in other parts of the world a noticeable increase in health issues affecting local communities is evident:

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26930029/one-dead-following-fracking-accident-weld-county

http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20141113/NEWS01/141119822/Emissions-still-high-despite-regulations-

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-14/fracking-boom-spurs-demand-for-sand-and-clouds-of-dust.html

http://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2014/nov/06/kale-fracking-corporations-farmers-drought

Public comments are accepted up to Friday 5th December. They don’t have to be a 3000-word essay. A single page will suffice. Please consider having your say.

REVIEW OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN TASMANIA

The Dept. of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment is seeking submissions for its Review into Hydraulic Fracturing in Tasmania. Further information and a copy of the Issues Paper can be obtained by emailingfracking.review@dpipwe.tas.gov.au or as a hard copy phone 6165-3134.

Submissions should be received by 5pm Friday 5th December 2014 and sent by post to;

The Project Team- Review of hydraulic fracturing in Tasmania

Dept of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment

G.P.O. Box 44, HOBART Tas 7001 or by email to fracking.review@dpipwe.tas.gov.au