Coal danger exposed
BIPARTISAN support from the Nationals' Steve Cansdell and Labor's Colin Clague for the banning of dangerous chemicals used in fracking to extract coal seam gas has surfaced less than a week before the state election.
The candidates for both major parties said they were against the fracking process in the Clarence and across the state.
Mr Cansdell said the state coalition would implement its strategic land use policy to regulate regional land use, focusing on the social, environmental and economic values in regional areas.
“We will put a moratorium on any new coal seam gas exploration licences,” he said.
“We will also be in a position to review any current standards.”
Under the policy, the best places for agriculture, conservation, urban development, mining and other activities would be clearly defined before any activity would proceed.
Mr Cansdell said Metgasco did not use benzene chemicals in coal seam gas exploration in the Clarence.
“Metgasco have been very honourable and have done everything as regulated as they can,” he said.
Mr Clague welcomed Wednesday's announcement by Premier Kristina Keneally that Labor would ban the use of dangerous chemicals used in the fracking process.
He said he understood explorations by Metgasco in the Clarence electorate did not use chemicals in the fracking processes, but called for the community to be informed of the process.
“The community at large needs a better understanding from what those proposing to extract the gas do,” he said.
If elected, Mr Clague said he would ensure the public was informed on processes used by companies wishing to extract coal seam gas locally.
He said he supported calls for a general moratorium on the extraction of coal seam gas.
“We would all like to see the benefits of the gas being achieved but not at the expense of destroying the primary industry outcomes that are absolutely essential to our communities,” he said.
The fracking process, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the use of chemicals benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – collectively referred to as BTEX – to extract coal seam gas.
The process has been widely condemned due to the carcinogenic nature of the chemicals and the impact they can have on the surrounding environment.
The leakage of these chemicals into aquifers or waterways could result in long-term contamination.