To The Commissioner,
As a citizen of the democracy of Australia I wish to
assert my right to voice my opinion regarding the use of hydraulic
fracturing to explore and establish extraction sites for shale gas
deposits in Australia and specifically, my home, the Northern
I oppose it.
Other submissions on the inquiry web site have adequately
covered the majority of my concerns however there is a few things I
would like to say.
Any citizen that values environmental and human health
that takes the time to educate themselves regarding the more recent
forms of this process as a tool for small multiple site extraction and
the insidious nature of its outcomes would oppose its use until the
exact cause of the effects apparently being suffered by humans
elsewhere, is determined.
The question is, will the Northern Territory Government? In particular, will the Chief Minister?
An “independent” inquiry funded by a small Government
already afflicted by severe economic cut backs, into a raging
international debate of human health significance is an insult to the
intelligence of the citizens of the N.T whom are at risk of suffering
the consequences of an predetermined, manipulated outcome.
With limited time and financial resources to conduct such
an inquiry, it would be negligent in my opinion, for our Legislative
Assembly to further modify related legislation if the majority of data
and information were to be sourced from the petrochemical industry.
With respect to the Commissioner, history has established
that this industry is well funded, employs people educated far beyond
the scope of our Ministers as a whole, is cohesive in its approach to
achieving its goals on issues such as this through industry
organizations such as The Australian Petroleum Production and
Exploration Association, funding “independent” research and educational
projects and manipulating the outcomes to appropriate their
Aside from being responsible for a large percentage of the
worlds major non natural environmental disasters and the resultant
collateral damage, the industry is in human terms, untrustworthy.
Emotional perhaps, but then this inquiry could be determining the debate
of whether our governance values citizen humans as being more
important than short term economic objectives that will benefit few
financially in the long term.
Specifically, I have the following concerns based on the modern history of this process and the industry that undertakes it.
- Experienced Governments with more comprehensive
environmental “watchdogs” elsewhere have been manipulated by this
industry and their legislation has proven inadequate to control the on
site activities where this process is taking place.
My understanding at a community level is that the
Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority is not currently
resourced adequately to be
an effective “watchdog” to its current responsibilities,
not withstanding this complex dynamic becoming their responsibility
Therefore, what does the Government propose to provide
physical, financial and retrospective legislative resources at
community acceptable levels to protect resources such as groundwater and
the environment in the advent of making a poor decision now, without
facing re-compensation or rehabilitation costs later ?
- Will the Government legislate that the exact chemical
content and its known effects on humans of all products used in every
aspect of the process of establishing an extraction site, including
fracturing, be advertised, documented, compulsorily overseen by NTEPA
(or similar) and be readily available to the public, site specific.
Importantly, this legislative requirement must include
the full disclosure of the exact chemical content of manufacturers
“proprietary” products without any exemptions and be effective at
excluding the possibility of manufacturers being able to seek
compensation for loss of “trade secrets”.
- Legislation must provide effective, measureable and
managed limitations on the impacts to residents of odours, noise and
exposures to chemicals. Air borne, land borne and water borne, above
and underground. Visible and non-visible.
Based on international experiences it would be prudent to
establish ridiculously high prohibitive compensation levels and fines
beforehand, which the industry will have no need to object to, given
they assert the practice has no negative outcomes.
- Perhaps legislation could hold the Directors and
Shareholders of the Industry participating companies personally
financially liable for any contamination if correctly legislated before
- The inquiry, to substantiate integrity in its
consideration, clearly needs to delineate between the impact of modern
chemical fracturing processes currently being utilized in populated
areas where people rely on ground water resources for supplies, as
distinct from older traditional less invasive methods that have been
undertaken in remote locations away from highly populated areas with
earlier more conservative and less chemically enhanced technology.
- Consideration should be given to a moratorium being put
in place until the new developments being made in Japan that utilize
Carbon Dioxide as an alternative to water as the primary injection
material can be determined as to whether the process poses less risk to
the environment by deleting chemical requirements.