Greens move senate motion to suspend CSG activity Australia-wide

The Greens will lodge a senate motion today calling for the suspension of current coal seam gas projects and ask that no new approvals be awarded.

The move follows the release of a report in the CSG industry by The Australia Institute’s called ‘Fracking the Future’.

The report’s author says “the purpose of the paper is to bust gas industry myths about coal seam gas.”

Senator Larissa Waters says the report shows there is “an alarming” lack of evidence into the health and environmental impacts of CSG.

“And yet the Abbott Government is pushing ahead without the science,” Waters said.

“Any funding cuts to the Independent Scientific Expert Committee on Coal Seam Gas or delegation to the states of federal protections for water would make the situation even worse, with potentially disastrous consequences for human health and the environment.”

Waters claims the motion should be passed in light of two incidents at CSG sites in recent weeks.

Santos was fined $1500 by the Environmental Protection Authority after the contamination of an aquifer in the Pilliga Forest which led to elevated uranium, lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron and nickel levels.

Santos says the leak of CSG wastewater was small, localised and contained and did not pose a threat to either humans or animals.

Santos eastern Australia vice-president James Baulderstone said calls for CSG activity to be banned showed “gross exaggerating” by the industry's opponents.

While Origin has come under fire this week after it uncovered asbestos in its suppliers drilling mud.

The company has suspended drilling across 12 rig sites as a result.

 “Uranium and asbestos contamination should mean game over for gas mining but the Abbott Government is pressing fast-forward even without the science being in, “Waters said.

Waters says industry claims of providing jobs are being falsified by “spin doctors” and claims profits from CSG activity are not staying in Australia because most of the companies involved are foreign-owned.

“The Abbott Government is risking our land, water, Great Barrier Reef and climate all for the sake of the bottom dollar of foreign-owned mining companies,” Waters said.

Managing Director of BG Group's Australian subsidiary QGC, Derek Fisher, recently said the CSG sector underestimated the power of misinformation distributed by opposition groups, including the "exaggerated" claims that the industry would contaminate the water tables and risk prime farming land.

"These past few years should cause the resource sector to seriously think about how it modernises its approach to public and policy advocacy, to constantly make and remake the case for our industry and the numerous advantages it is bringing to Australia," Fisher said.

Fisher explained that CSG is a heavily regulated sector.

"This is probably the most regulated industry in Australia and has had so much light shone on it that it's sunburnt — but this has not been enough for our critics," he said.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.