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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fracking in Sydney - are they insane?

Polluted stream in Pennyslvania

There was a heated row at Leichhardt Town Hall last night. Dart Energy own the exploration licence to drill for coal seam gas in Sydney and their Chief Executive Officer, Robbert de Weijer, faced the angry crowd and said he believed coal seam gas mining could co-exist with communities. He must be insane to think we are that stupid. He kept saying that the company would not use fracking “unless it is deemed acceptable and approved by the authorities and there has been adequate community dialogue”.

Hey Mr CEO, we already know all about fracking, we've seen it on the television, we know about the nasty chemicals you use, how it poisons underground water and how it poisons the land. You would have to be mentally deficient to want a bar of this – where’s Greenpeace when you need them?

There were calls of “bullshit” as his words fell on deaf ears. Moira Williams from Sydney Residents against Coal Seam Gas told him the community held him personally responsible for the decision to mine in Sydney. “How long do we have to shout ‘no’ to make sure you listen?” Ms Williams said to roars of approval.

The idea is an abomination and it’s shonky. The water needs extensive treatment before it can be released back into the environment but there are no formal requirements in place in NSW to ensure this will happen. And I can’t believe I’m siding with a Green - Jeremy Buckingham has introduced a bill that puts it on hold for 12 months while the whole thing is investigated properly.

To be fair, Ross Dunn of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, said there was a lot of misinformation about the chemicals used in coal seam gas mining. "These are chemicals that are found in food, in cosmetics, in your swimming pool, in your laundry cupboard," he said. Pull the other one.

In America, one of Chesapeake’s wells blew out and thousands of gallons of salt water, mixed with quantities of chemicals spilled out into a stream near Canton, Pennsylvania. The suspected cause of the incident was a cracked well casing. Seven families were evacuated and a farmer was urged to prevent his cows from drinking the water in the creek. Oh yes, fracking is safe alright.