State government moves on Fracking, but must implement full moratorium on fossil fuel projects

August 24, 2012

Media release

State government moves on Fracking, but must implement full moratorium on fossil fuel projects

Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth has welcomed the
announcement that the Victorian government is preparing to declare a
moratorium on new hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of coal-seam gas
deposits.

“This is the first positive move from the Baillieu government on the
issue of fossil fuels and climate change since it came to power” said
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator.

“The government has worked hard to convince the community that existing
laws will protect land owners and farm land from the threats posed by
fracking. It is clear the community has seen through this campaign.
Given the groundswell of opinion against new coal and gas operations,
especially in Gippsland, it was inevitable that the government would
bend to public opinion. We acknowledge this as a significant first step
in this process.”

We are yet to see the full detail of the government’s announcement.

“According to media stories this morning, it is possible that the ban
won’t affect current exploration licences holders or those that have
already submitted applications”.

“There is no point having a partial moratorium.”

“The government needs to be aware that a partial moratorium that only
covers  the process of fracking, rather than all unconventional gas and
new coal proposals will ultimately be seen as window dressing. The
community will reject this move, just as they rejected previous
arguments that fracking and agriculture could co-exist.”

“With at least one company intending to frack for Tight Gas in Gippsland
in coming months, this issue will become even more politically damaging
for the government.”

“The government must ban any further approvals for exploration or
production of CSG, new coal and Tight Gas until there has been a
comprehensive, credible and independent state inquiry into the likely
impacts of the industry on water resources, farmland and food security,
local communities and local economies, natural biodiversity, and
greenhouse emissions.

“The Energy Minister Michael O’Brien has the power to exclude all key
agricultural land from fossil fuel operations. He could do so this
morning. To announce a partial moratorium will be a futile attempt to
placate the community. Nothing less than a full moratorium will do
this”.

Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047