Government imposes fracking moratorium

Government imposes fracking moratorium by ABC News, August 24, 2012
The State Government has announced a ban on any further approvals on fracking in new coal seam gas exploration wells. Fracking uses high pressure gas to fracture coals and rock seams deep underground to release natural gas. There is no coal seam gas production in Victoria at the moment, but 24 exploration licences have been issued over the past few years. Five shire councils across the state have been calling for a moratorium and a study into the effect of fracking on water supplies and the environment. Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien says moratorium will remain in place while it waits for a national approach to be developed. “We’re expecting to see the results of that national work reported to energy ministers in December,” he told ABC local radio. “Frankly it wouldn’t make much sense to give approvals now for hydraulic fracturing to take place when that may be superseded by new national regulations as soon as December.” The Opposition says temporary ban does not go far enough. Labor’s Upper House Member for Eastern Region, Matt Viney, says the issue should go to a select committee. … Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth says a moratorium would be positive, but it must apply to existing exploration wells. “There are really deep community concerns that new coal proposals, coal seam gas operations in general, the greenhouse gas emissions that would come regardless of whether you frack or not,” he said. “So simply putting a moratorium on future fracking operations will not make this problem go away.” Deputy Premier Peter Ryan says the Government has decided to take a cautious approach. “What we’ve now engaged in is the process of making sure that for those who do want to search for it, they are now subject to a regime which we think is much much more appropriate to contemporary needs,” he said. [Emphasis added]

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