LETTER: Be careful with fracking!

Sir – I sent the following letter to Mines Minister Willem Westra van Holthe.

With the Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) and Mining Services Expo being held in Alice Springs this week it is an opportune  time for all concerned members of the public and the exploration and mining industry to refocus on the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry and Hydraulic Fracking and its potential adverse impact on Central Australia’s limited water resources.

Re the report “New business opportunities are beginning to emerge as mining and exploration activity gathers pace in Central Australia.”  (page 37, Centralian Advocate, March 15), it can only be assumed that these companies and businesses will be mindful of the need to protect and preserve the pristine and finite water resources in the areas around their exploration and mining sites. Farmers around the country are fearful that mining, coal seam gas extraction and hydraulic fracking could contaminate water or lead to excessive draw-down on underground aquifers.

Here in Central Australia the public, farmers and station owners rely almost totally on underground aquifers for human consumption, horticulture and to water livestock. Therefore I assume common sense will prevail and exploration will be directed to areas other than those where people live, horticulture is undertaken or potential can be undertaken and cattle stations stock watering points, after all it’s a big country out there. Unfortunately water is required for the hydraulic fracturing and mining process, so my optimisms of the industry doing the right thing are not high. On a positive note the Simpson Desert would appear to be an optimum starting point for future exploration.

Bob Taylor
Braitling

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    The United States Geological Survey study was conducted on one of two wells drilled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 after residents of the small town said their water smelled and tasted strange. On Wednesday September 26 the USGS announced that the water had again tested positive for high levels of methane, ethane, diesel compounds and phenol, Bloomberg reported. These are some of the very chemicals used for fracking, in which holes drilled deep into shale beds and injected with highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals to extract gas and oil.

    It was the second time in as many years that the well had yielded such results. A draft report issued in December 2011 after an earlier round of testing was the first time the US government had documented a link between fracking and water contamination, the EPA said.
    I plead with you to study the consequences of Fracking, water is too precious to life to contaminate. Contamination means end of life due to Fracking. Please investigate more on this subject!

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  2. David Chewings aka Murray Bridge mushroom THE lone
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Bob would have extensive knowledge of this matter. It was the young and crazier Katter who cut his teeth on law reform for his boss, Joh Bjelke Peterson, changing laws just so the miners could have far easier access to prime agricultural lands in Qld. Cheney and Bush would be very proud of his ‘work’.

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  3. Russell Guy
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Bob Katter’s article in today’s Financial Review contrasts with Santos’ view on fracking, as the LNG issue heats up.
    Shell is designing on-site mine trucks to run on natural gas as a way of reducing LNG production costs – one of the main contestants for its sustainability in the market place, domestically and globally, while Katter suggests that the Artesian Basin is potentially at risk – he refers to it as being a “pin cushion” for the “60,000” shafts needed.

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