Gas love affair fuelled by dubious claims
THE gas industry has been in the news lately for a number of reasons.
Firstly there is the Federal Government's support for expansion of the on-shore gas industry - support largely based on two dubious claims. For years it has claimed gas is less polluting than other fossil fuels and is an excellent transitional fuel. More recently it is touting expanding gas production as a major solution for the economic recovery from the COVID downturn.
But the NSW Government is equally determined to expand gas extraction despite the concerns of community members and the government's failure to fully implement recommendations by the chief scientist to mitigate the risks of the coal seam gas industry.
Earlier this year a parliamentary inquiry found that only two of the 16 recommendations made by Professor O'Kane in 2014 had been implemented by the NSW Government - despite its promise to do so.
Against this backdrop is the massive Santos gasfield project in the Pilliga Forest and farmland near Narrabri in the state's north west. Although Santos has been extracting gas in the area for some time as a pilot project - and a very large pilot indeed - it is waiting on the final approval from the NSW Government.
While both governments might be very keen to see this and other gasfields go ahead, there is considerable community concern about the impact of the industry. Concerns include pollution of groundwater, damage to the Great Artesian Basin, increased carbon emissions. What has happened elsewhere in the world as well as Queensland has illustrated just how relevant these and other concerns are.
- Leonie Blain
Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition