NSW coal seam gas regulations falls short of international best practice: EDO NSW Report

Published: December 11, 2014

A new report outlining what a ‘world class’ regulatory regime for coal seam gas would look like for NSW was released by the EDO NSW this week.

The NSW Government has committed to ‘world class’ laws to protect water, natural assets, farmland and community health from the impacts of coal seam gas activity.

The Review of NSW Coal Seam Gas and International Best Practice report, produced by environmental law experts, EDO NSW, provides direction on what is happening with the regulation of unconventional gas mining in other countries around the world.

Some examples of specific best practices from other countries include: 

•      A ban on hydraulic fracturing in France and partial ban in Germany (banned at depths <3,000m). 

•      The designation of 'no-go' zones for gas drilling in Alberta and Germany. 

•      A ban on flaring from hydraulically fractured gas wells in the US (commences January 2015). 

•      The increasing adoption of Health Impact Assessments in a number of countries.

•      Placing the onus of proof on the gas driller to show they did not cause harm in Germany. 

•      Full disclosure of the chemical composition of both fracking fluids and flow-back fluids in the UK. 

 Lock the Gate spokesperson Phil Laird said it was clear from the report that the NSW Gas Plan proposed by the NSW Government fell short of measures put in place to manage risk in many other countries.

 “Major improvements are needed to deliver a genuinely ‘world class’ system of coal seam gas regulation in NSW,” Mr Laird said.

“The majority of the regulatory system has been introduced in an ad hoc manner, leading to a complex and inconsistent system that undermines the confidence of communities and fails to protect them in many areas.

“This briefing paper provides a good overview of some the urgent policy reforms needed to deliver adequate protection from the threats of coal seam gas activities.” .

 

The full report from EDO NSW can be downloaded here.

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