NSW govt puts moratorium on fracking: what is the Bligh govt doing?

Published: July 21, 2011

Today's announcement by the NSW government of a moratorium on the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in coal seam gas extraction exposes the charade by the Bligh government that they are pursuing the public interest with their policy on this industry.

NSW Resources and Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, announced today a moratorium on the controversial "fracking" process put in place until year's end.

The government will also introduce tougher restrictions on the use of groundwater, and new public consultation guidelines.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said that, while the NSW government's policy was still well short of what was needed, it did show up the inadequacies of the Bligh government's policy.

"The Queensland government keeps telling us they have placed all these conditions on the industry and so this protects the public interest," Mr Hutton said.

"However, this is a charade. The conditions are based on inadequate prior research and anyway, are only as good as the enforcement regime and Queensland's record on environmental enforcement against mining companies is woeful.

"The Bligh government makes much of the assertion they have banned the use of B-TEX chemicals in the fracking fluids. However,  the remaining chemicals were still a threat with only 2 out of 23 fracking chemicals tested by the National Toxics Network having been assessed by the federal regulatory authority NICNACS.

Mr Hutton said the Bligh government could begin to persuade the people of Queensland that she cared for more than just the coal seam gas royalties by immediately following the lead of the NSW government and beefing up the proposed Strategic Cropping Land legislation so it actually stopped some mines and also included coal seam gas.

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