Tasmania bans fracking for another five years

The Tasmanian Government has issued a five year moratorium
on fracking on the island state.

Tasmanian primary industries minister Jeremy Rockliff
declared a one year moratorium in March 2014 and has considered 155 submissions
related to hydraulic fracturing, ABC
reported
.

Rockliff said the decision would “protect Tasmania’s
reputation for producing fresh, premium and safe produce”.

The minister said the decision was not an end to shale oil
and gas exploration, and that three companies with exploration licences could
still engage in limited activities.

“Our decision does not preclude exploration to see
exactly what the resource is available, it’s just the exploration cannot use
hydraulic fracturing methods,” he said.

Gas explorer Petratherm managing director Terry Kallis told
the ABC the moratorium was politically motivated and the company would consider
leaving its interests in the state.

“There’s no real science underpinning this
decision,” he said.

Earlier this week the Municipality of Katherine in the
Northern Territory declared a moratorium on fracking, but on Wednesday the NT
government tabled the Hawke Report, which stated there was “no
justification whatsoever”
for a moratorium.

The report calls for the Northern Territory Environmental
Assessment Act to be restructured, and the creation of a robust regulatory
regime to manage environmental risks.

NT mines and energy minister Dave Tollner said the report
showed fracking could take place safely “provided
the appropriate regulatory and monitoring regime is in place to allay community
concern”.

He also said, despite recommendations in the report, that
onshore exploration activity could be safely managed under existing legislation,
albeit with a “new set of guiding principles”.

Six recommendations from the Hawke report into hydraulic
fracking in the NT:

1. Consistent with other Australian and international
reviews, the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be
managed effectively subject to the creation of a robust regulatory regime.

2. The substantive weight of agreed expert opinion leads the
Inquiry to find that there is no justification whatsoever for the imposition of
a moratorium of hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory.

3. The NT Government form a Cabinet Sub-Committee, chaired
by the Deputy Chief Minister and comprising the Ministers whose portfolios
cover Lands, Planning and the Environment; Land Resource Management; Mines and
Energy; and Primary Industry and Fisheries to oversee the work required for the
Northern Territory to set the standard for a best practice regulatory regime.

4. The Northern Territory Environmental Assessment Act be
restructured in the light of this Report and the proposed bilateral agreements
with the Commonwealth on environmental assessments and approvals.

5. The NT Government consider aligning the petroleum and
mineral royalty frameworks.

6. The NT Government propose through the Council of
Australian Governments (COAG) Standing Council on Energy and Resources that the
Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) host a workshop of international
academies to consider their collective findings, learn from each other and
identify the findings shared by all of the academies.

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