Victorian government should ban onshore gas drilling

frack_image.jpgFriends of the Earth media release. September 4, 2014

The government of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia has just announced that it intends to introduce legislation to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) in shale oil and gas projects. The legislation will replace a moratorium on fracking imposed by the previous government.

“Like a growing number of jurisdictions around the world, Nova Scotia will ban the process of fracking because of uncertainty about the environmental safety of this controversial practise” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“The Nova Scotian government has also based it’s decision to create an open-ended ban on fracking on the fact that a large percentage of the community are opposed to hydraulic fracturing. The situation is the same here in Victoria. Already, 24 regional communities in Victoria have declared themselves coal or gasfield free because of concerns about new fossil fuel projects. The average level of support in community polling for the declarations has been 95%.

“This industry does not have social license to operate in Victoria. The state government would do well to heed community concerns and place an open ended ban on onshore unconventional gas drilling until the process is proven safe for land, water and people.”

“The Victorian government has recently carried out a community consultation process, which comprehensively showed the level of community opposition to this industry. It is gathering baseline data on groundwater. Given the growing evidence of groundwater contamination and other problems associated with the unconventional gas industry elsewhere in Australia and around the world, the Victorian government should ban any further onshore gas drilling. The current moratorium could be lifted early in 2015. A logical interim step is for the Coalition government to promise, if re-elected in November, to extend the current ban on exploration and drilling for the next term of government while additional data is compiled and considered.”

Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047