NT should follow NY in fracking ban

19th December 2015

The NT Frack-free Alliance has welcomed news this week that New York state has become the 27th American municipality to permanently ban the dangerous technique for gas extraction called fracking.

The NT Frack-free Alliance are a diverse group of concerned community members, Traditional Owners, environment groups and landholders established in response to NT government plans for a roll-out of the contested shale gas industry in the NT. NTFFA are campaigning for a moratorium on fracking until the industry can prove the process is safe.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial technique in which gas drillers blast millions of litres of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the ground to extract gas from hard-to-reach deposits deep in the earth.

The ban in New York is based on a new report by the NY Health Department citing environmental and human health impacts as a result of fracking. NY Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said (the decision) ‘is the result of departmental studies showing fracking’s effects on water, air and soil are inconsistent, incomplete and raise too many “red flags” to allow.’ Studies have found groundwater contamination and air pollution near fracking sites, increasing the risk of cancer, birth defects, skin rashes, and upper respiratory problems.

“The New York Health Department report and resulting ban should act as a timely warning to all governments considering the question of whether to allow this high risk form of gas extraction” said Charmaine Roth of the NT Frack-free Alliance.

“The drive to exploit the last of the world’s hydrocarbon deposits has become more desperate with energy companies seeking ever more extreme forms of energy extraction and encroaching on communities and precious water resources previously protected from the destruction of the fossil fuel industry. But everywhere the industry goes it is being met with immediate and strong opposition from people acting to protect their livelihoods and local communities.”

“The NT Government has buried its own Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry report, but it cannot bury its head in the sand on this controversial issue any longer. We are calling for the immediate release of this report so the public can understand the level of risk that fracking poses to our communities, our natural resources and our climate” said Tanya Hall of the NT Frack-Free Alliance.

“The New York state ban will further intensify pressure on Chief Minister Giles to show real energy leadership and turn away from extreme energy sources like shale gas and uranium and instead take advantage of the enormous capacity for solar and other renewables we have in abundance in the NT.”

See the full report here: http://www.health.ny.gov/press/reports/docs/high_volume_hydraulic_fracturing.pdf