The NSW Chief Scientist has highlighted serious risks from coal seam gas mining, including to human health and water supplies, vindicating strongly held concerns of communities across NSW, Lock the Gate said today.
"The Chief Scientist report released yesterday made it clear that CSG mining could contaminate groundwater and food products and could place human health at risk, which are exactly the concerns which have been raised by the community for several years" said Carmel Flint, spokesperson with Lock the Gate Alliance.
"The report has recommended a massive overhaul of the laws relating to CSG mining and an entirely new approach to collection of baseline environmental data and monitoring.
“It has warned that health risk assessments are needed before projects commence to help make sure that the population is protected from the risk of exposure to contaminants and the cumulative impact of pollutants.
"In light of these findings, the Narrabri and Gloucester CSG projects should now be put on hold until far-reaching law reforms are implemented and all of the potential health risks assessed.
"The Chief Scientist has indicated that the CSG industry should only proceed in NSW if appropriate measures are in place to manage the large volumes of toxic wastewater and salt which it produces.
"However, experience in Qld has proven CSG drillers are light years away from achieving that outcome, and the industry still does not have a plan as to how it is going to manage the vast mountains of salt it produces.
"The report identifies serious risks of seismic events and water pollution if CSG miners attempt to reinject waste back into underground aquifers.
“It also warns of the dangers of using wastewater for irrigation especially without thorough and regular testing due to the potential for contamination of the food chain.
"The report recommends 'careful designation' of areas where CSG extraction is 'appropriate' and this would be best implemented by a system of no-go zones to protect important food-producing areas, water resources and other environmental assets from CSG mining.
"The report states that existing studies on unconventional gas mining and human health impacts are very limited, and this should ring alarm bells about CSG drilling near homes.
"In view of the report, the NSW Government shouldn't be putting families at Gloucester and Camden under threat by allowing CSG wells to be drilled or operated near residential dwellings" she said.
Information or comment: Carmel Flint 0400 521474