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Fracking Inquiry shows clear risks, Feds need to back off - Lock the Gate

The much anticipated Interim Report of the NT Fracking Inquiry has just been released, providing balanced evidence that there are a myriad of risks involved with extracting shale gas in the Northern Territory.

“The Fracking Inquiry Interim Report is a balanced body of work for the Territory that outlines a wide range of risks to land, communities and water supplies, plus the strong community concerns that have been shared with the Panel about the fracking process,” said Naomi Hogan of the Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Evidence in the Interim Report shows that the drilling and fracking processes used for shale gas extraction come with inherent risks and can lead to unsafe outcomes and water pollution.”

The Inquiry report states: Overwhelmingly, the message received from the people who attended these meetings was that fracking was not safe, was not trusted and was not wanted in the NT.

The Summary of the Interim report states: “There is a risk that groundwater and/or surface water will be contaminated as a result of spills, of chemicals, flowback water or produced water… There is a risk that groundwater will be contaminated as a result of leaky wells.”

The Interim report reveals that in their submissions, the gas industry “did not comment on how the long-term integrity of abandoned wells is assured.”

“The Fracking Inquiry Interim Report is a stark reminder to the Federal Government to back off with their uninformed pro-fracking mantra,” she said.

“The report makes clear that every part of the shale gas extraction process does come with risks, from the chemical transportation, to a grid of thousands of wells and pipelines, to faulty well integrity causing water contamination.

“Importantly, the Inquiry puts forward that regional baseline studies are required to better understand the impacts to water, fire regimes and community health, before unconventional gas activities should be considered across parts of the Northern Territory.

“The report documents a litany of concerns that have been put forward by Territory families, pastoralists and Traditional Owners about the impacts surrounding the fracking industry and polluting shale gasfields across the Territory.

“Gas lobby group APPEA admitted in their submission that fracked gas wells in the Beetaloo Sub-basin would likely use a whopping 47million litres of water per well, more than double what CSIRO had predicted. More research on the water impacts have been identified as a key body of work for the Inquiry team.

“There is ever increasing pressure from the Federal Government and the oil and gas lobby to start fracking the Territory regardless of the documented risks to land and water or the community concerns.

“It is vital for Territorians to use this opportunity to respond to the Interim Report by making a submission to ensure local voices are not ignored, and to speak up to defend our land and water,” she said.  

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