England suspends coal seam gas fracking

Fracking has been suspended in England, amid controversy of the coal seam gas (CSG) extraction process around the world.

In Australia, the issues surrounding the process, where water and chemicals are blasted into the ground to break coal seams apart and extract the gas, have been facing increased controversy.

It can lead to contamination of the groundwater and aquifers, and Marrian Lloyd-Smith, a government advisor on the issues, said she has grave concerns about the process.

“Of the 23 most commonly used compounds in fracking fluids, the national regulator, NICNAS, has only assessed two of those 23 and of the two that have been assessed, they weren’t assessed for their use in fracking fluids,” she said.

“So you can basically say of the 23 major chemicals used in this process, they have not been assessed by any national regulator.”

Fracking has been banned in England for fear it has contributed to minor earthquakes and tremors, the ABC reports.

Two small earthquakes were felt in the west of the country when fracking was undertaken.

The process is relatively new in the country and a BBC journalist said the energy company Cuadrilla suspended its own operations.

"To be honest I don’t think they had any choice," he told the ABC.

"We are suspended at the moment and of course, because of that, the controversy is as great as ever.

"This area of the west of the country is the main crop growing area.

A huge amount of fruit and vegetables are grown for not just this area but all over the north-west of England, all over the country.

"Clearly, concerns are growing about whether or not these fracking drilling operations could cause contamination of those."

Protests against the fracking process are becoming increasingly common, and last month Steve Irwin’s father Bob faced court over his involvement in a rally against CSG in Queensland.

Last month Australian Greens leader Bob Brown accused Liberal and Labor senators of standing in the way of the party’s proposed senate enquiry into the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

A leading natural resources expert says Australia needs to establish more sustainable land use planning before CSG mining is permitted.

There is currently a moratorium on all new coal and coal seam gas projects in New South Wales.

Image: Metgasco


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