Inquiry into fracking in South Eastern South Australia

On 19th November 2014, a motion by Greens MP Mark Parnell to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into fracking in the South East of SA was passed by the Legislative Council.

Submissions are now being called by the Natural Resources Committee of the SA Parliament.

The Terms of Reference are to consider:

Potential risks and impacts in the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to produce gas in the South East of SA and in particular:

The risks of groundwater contamination;

The impacts upon landscape;

The effectiveness of existing legislation and regulation; and

The potential net economic outcomes to the region and the rest of the state.

Please write a brief submission expressing your concerns about this industry. Simply explain your concerns, add a link to references where you have them, include your name and contact details and send to:

Executive Officer, Natural Resources Committee, GPO Box 572, Adelaide SA 5001, or email: patrick.dupont@parliament.sa.gov.au

Please note that the deadline for submissions is 31st January 2015.

Contact details for enquiries: Ph: (08) 8237 9442, Fax: (08) 8231 9130 or email: patrick.dupont@parliament.sa.gov.au

Ideas for writing a submission

Here are some issues you might like to raise (thanks to the Office of Mark Parnell for many of these ideas).

The potential for contamination of groundwater. Sources of possible contamination come from well failure, stimulating fractures and faults, and the poor handling of ‘produced’ water which is brought to the surface in the drilling process.

Fracking generally requires large volumes of water. Groundwater is already a premium in SE SA and required for agriculture. Surface flows are required for natural ecosystems and farming. Unconventional gas production will create competition for water and can be expected to drive up the cost of water to farmers. The Australian-based natural resources consultancy firm Frogtech in its report Potential Geological Risks Associated with Shale Gas Production in Australia (2013) says that shale gas wells would require 15 megalitres a well over their commercial life.

Waste water will need to be treated on site, with potential for chemical contamination.

There will be local impacts on air quality, and gas drilling will contribute to climate change. Fugitive emissions (emissions that escape into the atmosphere in the mining, transport and processing of gas) contributes to climate change. Methane Gas is a fossil fuel and a significant greenhouse gas, and is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide.

There are commercially viable alternative energy sources which can meet our needs, and we should be encouraging  renewables like wind and solar instead of entrenching our reliance on more fossil fuels

There are documented impacts of fracking and gas production on human health. Doctors for the Environment also note that “the health impacts have not been adequately researched and the regulations to adequately protect public health are not in place”, and that “a moratorium on (unconventional gas) production is recommended until all scientific aspects have been researched and health impacts assessed”.

There will be impacts on agricultural land productivity.

There will be impacts on property values. Gas drilling will industrialise rural landscapes.

Fracking activities will result in higher truck traffic, damage regional roads, and potentially lead to an increase in traffic accidents.

There will be negative impacts on local, regional and state economies. Farming can provide the basis for long term, sustainable local economies. Gas drilling will be short lived in most areas, yet the impacts could last for many years.