PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has slammed a report released by the Western Rivers Alliance, which warned of the alleged dangers of unconventional oil and gas extraction in the Channel Country in outback Australia.
The report highlights a number of risks regarding the extraction of unconventional oil and gas sources, including geological risks and that posed to humans, wildlife and livestock.
The report calls for the "urgent" reinstatement of a binding legal framework to protect the rivers, wetlands and natural flow patterns of the Channel Country, as well as an independent risk assessment of the impacts of an unconventional gas industry on the region.
The report also wants an expert review of legislation and policy to identify gaps in the existing legislation, as well as a review of the experience and impacts on individuals and businesses in the region.
It further demands amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to include shale and tight gas projects in the water trigger, as well as the addition of shale and tight gas projects to the Independent Expert Scientific Committees’ terms of reference.
Appea CEO Dr Malcolm Roberts said that the report, which was authored by Lock the Gate activists, recycled familiar and misleading claims about the gas industry.
“The report relies on discredited claims from the US to alarm Queenslanders,” said Roberts.
“There are many thorough, independent and expert scientific studies into shale gas. The Western Rivers Alliance report is none of those things. It is a scrapbook of recycled US activist material.”
Roberts said that there was also the familiar trick of selective, misleading quotes lifted from reputable research.
“People wanting to learn more about shale gas should read studies produced by genuine, independent experts such as the Australian Council of Learned Academies.
“The oil and gas industry has been safely operating in the Cooper basin for more than 50 years. Industry practices are proven and safe. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has been used in Australia since the late 1960s.
“Industry practices are always improving. Seismic surveying, for example, is now largely done using GPS technology, eliminating or greatly reducing disturbance.”
Roberts said the gas industry urged people to look beyond "dishonest scare campaigns".
“Gas is critical to a secure transition to lower emissions. Gas is also necessary for manufacturing essential products such as fertilisers, glass, bricks and packaging. Eastern Australia faces a very real risk of a supply shortfall by 2019.
“Preventing safe, responsible gas development can only mean higher gas prices for consumers, lost jobs and lost opportunities for regional development.”