Lasting pollution left byfracking a concern

The state government is conducting a consultation on community attitudes to onshore fossil gas exploration.

Currently, there is a moratorium on the process of “fracking” required to extract most of these unconventional gas resources.

Critics of the gas industry point to the real dangers of contaminating aquifers, or nearby farmland, with dangerous carcinogenic chemicals used or produced in this process.

These concerns have yet to be sufficiently answered by the industry.

Given that these unconventional gas wells frequently last for only about 10 years before they run out, there is a real risk that companies will move on to the next resource, taking their profits, while the community is left behind with polluted and maybe unusable land and water.

International and Australian experience also highlights that greenhouse emissions from gas can be even worse than from coal if the gas leaks.

Leaks can occur at the well head, in the supply pipelines, or in the homes and factories that are the end users.

Just a few percent of the gas leaking makes its greenhouse impact about the same as that of coal power; more leaks make it even worse than coal.

The boom in unconventional gas is largely for export. Linking our gas market to international prices has seen a 17.5 per cent increase in our gas price, and this will continue to rise.

For homes, gas is no longer the cheapest or greenest energy source.

Alternatives like reverse-cycle air conditioning and solar/heat pump hot water are now cheaper and cleaner, more efficient options for homes to use.

Add this to the availability of renewable energy sources and the necessity to protect our farmland for the future, and there is no case for allowing onshore gas exploration.

Victoria should leave it in the ground and pursue the demonstrated clean alternatives of wind and solar.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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