“Fracking” will be scrutinised says Stoner

“Fracking” will be scrutinised says Stoner by Elyse Denman, September 19, 2012, ABC News
A state-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing in NSW has been lifted under the state government’s new Strategic Regional Land Use Policy. … In its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy, the O’Farrell government has replaced a five-year moratorium on fracking with an industry Code of Practice, well drilling standards and exploration activity. The Deputy Premier and Nationals’ leader, Andrew Stoner, says he’s comfortable the changes will be well-received. “We’ve also moved to ban the nasty chemicals associated with hydraulic fracturing,” he said. Under the new Code, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene, or BTEX chemicals, are banned. Contamination of groundwater with the BTEX compounds is difficult to remedy because they are relatively soluble in water and can diffuse rapidly once introduced into an aquifer. While it’s not clear what chemicals the O’Farrell government is allowing under its new fracking policy, companies will have to register the type, volume and concentration of chemical they intend to use. They will also be required to identify the risk, likelihood of surface spills and the consequent impact on the environment of each chemical if a spill takes place.

Coal seam gas companies will also be asked to comply with a new Water Aquifer Interference Policy, which uses science to assess the risk of damage to groundwater. … Farmers and environmentalists say the O’Farrell government is relying on good faith by companies to comply with the rules, which they claim are unenforcable. The NSW Farmers’ Association says it will keep pushing for changes to the Mining Act and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act. [Emphasis added]

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