Chief NSW scientist Prof Mary O’Kane recommends ‘ban on fracking’ in Sydney Water catchment area if health risks can’t be known for certain

Chief NSW scientist recommends ‘ban on fracking’ in Sydney Water catchment area if health risks unknown by ABC News, June 3, 2014
The state’s top scientist says fracking should be banned if the risk to human health can’t be known for sure.

Chief Scientist Professor Mary O’Kane was commissioned by the New South Wales government to report on the potential impact of coal seam gas extraction in Sydney’s water catchment area. A moratorium was placed on coal seam gas activity in the region until the findings were released on Friday.

It found the use of chemicals in the fracking process would need to be severely controlled or even banned.

Professor Mary O’Kane says there should also be strict controls on how companies manage produced water which contains high level of salinity and other harmful chemicals.

Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra says fracking must be banned and the risk of contaminants leaking isn’t removed by treating and storing produced water on-site.

The New South Wales Opposition says the government’s plan to get rid of the Sydney Catchment Authority runs counter to advice from the Chief Scientist. The government wants to merge the catchment authority with the State Water Corporation to create a new organisation. [Like the Alberta government did with the ERCB and Alberta Environment and Water, turning it into the AER, pretending it’s a new agency, and as it did separating the EUB into the ERCB and AUC after the EUB was caught breaking the law and spying on innocent Albertans. Governments regularly changing regulator names and merging them in and out of agencies is done to confuse and make voters forget.]

Labor’s environment spokesman Luke Foley says it would not work. “A merged organisation bringing together what was the Sydney Catchment Authority with the rural water provider means we’ll just lose that special focus, that determined focus on protecting the drinking water quality for five million people in Sydney,” he said. [Alberta lost control of water with the merged AER wiping out Alberta Environment and giving the oil and gas industry control control of water in the province. Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Santos CBM in NSW Australia contaminates aquifer with uranium at 20 times the safe drinking water levels; Regulator does not test for thorium, radon and radium! Thorium and radon are known to cause lung cancer

Radon gas leaks in coalbed methane fields in Australia spark call for probe

A 2013 peer-reviewed study found correlation between coalbed methane (CBM) wells and radon concentrations in the atmosphere and that radon “may be useful in monitoring enhanced soil gas fluxes to the atmosphere due to changes in the geological structure associated with wells and hydraulic fracturing in [CBM] fields.”….CBM requires five to ten times more fracturing than conventional natural gas wells. In: Brief review of threats to Canada’s groundwater from the oil and gas industry’s methane migration and hydraulic fracturing

Silent killer: Health Canada urges testing homes for cancer-causing radon ]

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