Abbie Spiers – 27 May 2014

To The Commissioner,

I am writing to express my concern over the extensive plans for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. There are numerous recent cases where Hydraulic Fracturing has poisoned ground water both in Australia and overseas. Freshwater is a precious resource, it is only a fraction of our global water resource and is likely to become more vital to us in the long term with changing weather patterns already impacting people, flora and fauna and habitats. Many areas of Australia are becoming drier, increasing the importance of water collection and efficiency of use, and the NT has long periods with no rain at all, making water a precious asset for us and for our natural ecosystems. I am opposed to hydraulic fracturing as it could release heavy metals and other chemicals into our groundwater, rivers or seas, and this will impact our usage of water and food resources in the short-term and leave our children and grandchildren a toxic legacy. My family and I own a 160-acre property containing a rare, permanent riverine lagoon which is currently in an area threatened by hydraulic fracturing projects and we are concerned about the potential impacts in our region.

I have genuine, science-based concerns about the longterm risk to environmental and human health of contamination from the chemicals used in fracturing, and of the ability of gas companies to ensure they can safely utilise and store the chemicals over the long-term. I also have concerns about the preparedness of the gas companies and the capacity of their infrastructure and systems to cope with our widespread seasonal flooding, bushfires and cyclones, which are predicted to occur more often and become more severe over coming decades. In the NT, we already have an infamous history of failed extraction ventures and related environmental destruction, with contaminated sites from decades-old uranium and gold mines and other activites which continue to cost us, ecologically (impacting soil, water, and species diversity) and economically (from the public purse), today. I believe a more vibrant future for us all lies in endorsing and actively supporting safer, cleaner, greener technologies, and I don't believe hydraulic fracturing for gas is safe, clean or 'green' enough.

I fully support the Commissioner, should you decide to recommend a moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. I ask that sufficient peer-reviewed independent evidence, assessing likely impacts to human and environmental health, and iron-clad undertakings of environmental responsibility/accountability by the companies be a minimum requirement for any change in that stance. We need to ensure that this technology will cause no damage to groundwater and to our precious landscapes, especially considering the extreme weather and unique ecology we have in the NT. My family and I believe that, at present, Hydraulic Fracturing is an unacceptable risk.

Thankyou for your time. 

Best regards,
Abbie Spiers