Gunner Government poised to approve open air fracking sludge ponds

Published: May 01, 2019

The gas-addicted Gunner Government has bent over backwards for big business at the expense of Territory communities again, choosing to ignore a key recommendation of the NT Fracking Inquiry.

The inquiry critically recommended all tanks that would hold fracking wastewater should be enclosed, but it now appears this advice will be foregone in favour of keeping the gas companies happy.

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the onshore gas fracking industry and the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources had drafted a plan to allow open air wastewater tanks and evaporation pits for fracking sludge waste. The detail is held in the draft Code of Practice for Onshore Petroleum Activities, available for public submissions until this Thursday.*

“When Chief Minister Michael Gunner lifted the moratorium on fracking, he promised to implement all the Fracking Inquiry recommendations in full,” he said.

“This underhanded response to Inquiry recommendation 7.12 is a broken promise, and creates a dangerous situation for waterways and wildlife.

“It was bad enough that the Gunner Government went against the will of the people and removed the moratorium, but for it to go further and deliberately ignore recommendations designed to mitigate the risk of fracking is monstrous.”

“We call on the Gunner Government to either properly implement the recommendations as promised, or drop this high-risk and polluting fracking industry altogether.”  

Mr Sawyer said as well as its destructive impact on the local environment, the establishment of a fracking industry in the NT would be disastrous for Australia’s carbon footprint.

“The unconventional gas industry is a massive carbon polluter,” he said.

“Fracking for gas in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin could unleash a carbon disaster that would make it impossible for Australia to meet our Paris targets.

“It will raise Australia’s national emissions by over 6%, at a time we need to be bringing them down.

* The draft Code of Practice is available to download at the Have Your Say website here: https://haveyoursay.nt.gov.au/code-of-practice-consultation?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab. The move away from requiring enclosed tanks for all wastewater can be noted at page 82, where a range of seasonal caveats and even allowing open air wastewater tanks during the wet season for up to two weeks is proposed.

ENDS

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