It appears most Australians are sympathetic to the plight of farming communities in NSW and Queensland opposed to coal seam gas mining. A recent opinion poll has shown support for a moratorium on the controversial process – at least until environmentally-friendly liquids are used to extract the methane trapped deep underground.
Most Australians support the push for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining, according to a new Galaxy poll released by the Australian Greens.
A poll of 1048 people has found that 68 per cent of us want coal seam gas projects to be halted until environmental impacts are better known.
This includes the possible contamination of underground water aquifers due to the extraction process, known as fracking. Critics claim this is not eco-friendly: Industrial liquids forced into the gas seams in underground rock contain water, sand and chemicals.
This chemical cocktail has been linked to contamination of groundwater in Wyoming by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said of those polled, 70 per cent wanted an outright ban on CSG mining in cities and towns. He said the poll was conducted across age groups and that those surveyed were a cross-section of the community, including rural, regional and city areas of each state.
“There is overwhelming support from the Australian people for a moratorium on this potentially devastating industry,” Senator Brown said.
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said protecting groundwater in agricultural areas was critical to Australia’s food security.
“The stampede for profits from coal seam gas risks Australia’s best food-growing land and its underground water supplies – food security should be beyond politics,” Senator Waters said.
“You can’t eat coal and you can’t drink gas.”
What are the risks?
Coal seam gas industry players argue methane produces greener energy than coal-fired power.
There have been moves to make the fracking process more eco-friendly. Liquid fracking products using a group of volatile organic compounds known as BTEX have been banned in Australia. A new more environmentally-friendly liquid using sand, salts, polymers and water is being hailed as ‘greener chemistry’.
Critics still argue this fracking cocktail is far from eco-friendly. Industrial liquid waste from drilling wells is highly saline and needs to be properly managed.
They are concerned that any contamination of groundwater or surface water is hard to contain. Green revolution proponents point to the irony of drilling for methane on prime farming land – claiming methane can be better produced from cow, pig, chicken or vegetable waste.
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