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Newman government's go-ahead for shale oil risks environmental disasters

The decision by the Newman government to lift the moratorium on shale oil is a reckless move that will endanger the Queensland environment.

Shale oil is extracted by crushing sedimentary rock, heating it to high temperatures and using various other processing methods to extract the oil.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said this decision was in line with the Newman government's support for other high-polluting technologies such as coal seam gas, shale gas and underground coal gasification.

The heavy environmental impacts of shale oil are well known. They include high water usage with two barrels of water used for every barrel of oil produced and the water discharge can substantially increase the salinity of the surrounding water.

Oil can also leak into surrounding aquifers.

There is also a very high energy usage in extracting the oil and consequently, a high output of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Technologies like shale oil are potentially very dangerous but are being considered because global conventional oil resources are nearing or have reached their peak and will diminish," Mr Hutton said.

"This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to prolong the life of the fossil fuel era using dangerous technologies rather than adopt alternative, cleaner and available technologies.

"Shale oil is a dirty, bottom-end technology and by giving it the go-ahead, the Newman government is taking Queensland on a course toward making us the Dirty State - certainly not the Smart State.

"It is good the State Government has maintained the ban on the Proserpine shale oil project because of its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef but there is still the very real prospect of serious pollution form other such projects."

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