Socialists call for ban on fracking

Issue 

This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on August 16.

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The Socialist Alliance demands a total ban on fracking. The method of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — to extract gas from coal seams involves pumping out large quantities of water that can release salt and toxic chemicals into groundwater.

Coal seam gas (CSG) wells have been found to leak methane, which is a major greenhouse gas and has a far higher global warming effect than carbon dioxide.

Expanding CSG will not deliver cheaper gas to consumers either. APPEA, the gas and oil exploration lobby in Australia, has tried to blame anti-CSG activists for rising gas prices, but expanding CSG production will mean new gas production units will have more gas to export and drive up domestic prices.

Expanding CSG production to provide cheaper domestic fuel is a lie peddled by the gas lobby. It will place profit ahead of other considerations and the gas will be sold to overseas markets where prices are higher.

The Liquefied Natural Gas unit at Gladstone in Queensland alone proposes to dig 10,000 gas wells in the Bowen and Surat basins.

So far there have been 24 spills, uncontrolled releases and three breaches in waste-water storage reported in Australia. At least two contaminations involved toxic BTEX chemicals — benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene — all banned in NSW and Queensland at the time.

There have been no reliable studies on the extent of uncontrolled emissions of methane from CSG drilling in Australia. Nor has there been detailed research on the likely impact of CSG and fracking on Australia’s groundwater, ecology, communities and agriculture.

Expanding CSG production will divert funds from sustainable energy. The Australian government is estimated to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on carbon capture and storage, which can be diverted to investment in renewable sources of energy.

For a safe climate, we need to shift to zero emissions within the next decade. We need to make the switch to 100% renewable energy, to invest in energy technologies that can move us to a zero emissions economy, and guarantee to workers in this industry a just transition to alternative employment.

That is why Socialist Alliance members are active in the campaign against fracking and unconventional gas around the country.

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