Don't Frack the Outback

ALEC is staunchly opposed to the practice of hydraulic fracturing and the development of any new onshore gas industry in the Northern Territory and has been working to ban fracking since 2011.

The Northern Territory Government lifted the moratorium on fracking on April 17th 2018. Many Territorians continue to feel betrayed by this decision. The Chief Minister’s commitment to implement the entire 135 recommendations from the NT Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing provides some opportunities for improved environmental regulation in the petroleum and mining sectors. But for the communities in the direct firing line and those of us reliant on groundwater – it is a terrifying prospect.

ALEC CEO Jimmy Cocking has been appointed to the Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group – which will have input into the implementation of the 135 recommendations. The Implementation Plan has been released and more details on the NT Government’s approach to fracking can be read here: https://hydraulicfracturing.nt.gov.au

Things are moving fast. It is anticipated fracking will start in the NT mid 2019. Methane measurements in the Beetaloo Basin started in August 2018 and a new Water Control District including the north and south Beetaloo Basins has been created. The Northern Gas Pipeline has been completed and Jemena (60% State Grid China and 40% Singapore Power) has announced it plans to start a larger pipeline to move fracked gas to the east coast/export terminals within 12 months. 

Fracking will exponentially increase NT carbon emissions, and banning fracking is of national importance. ALEC is committed to supporting the communities in the firing line of fracking.  We are fundraising to support this activity. Please donate at https://www.alec.org.au/donate

Find out more information on fracking in the NT at http://dontfracktheterritory.org

What is fracking?

  • Fracking is an expensive and dirty way of extracting gas from layers of shale kilometres under the ground.
  • The process requires millions of litres of water, hundreds of tonnes of chemicals and proppant.
  • At high pressure this toxic cocktail is pushed down steel pipe and into the ground at the horizontal shale layer to crack the rock and allow the gas to flow.
  • After the frack, gas and the wastewater flow back to the surface.
  • The gas is piped to market, whether that’s domestic or export, and the gas is used in industrial processes or burned to provide electricity.
  • Fracked shale gas has been associated with water contamination in the United States and contributes immensely to climate warming.

No new fossil fuel projects or infrastructure 

  • Globally if we are to have a chance of combating climate change 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. This means no new fossil fuel projects or infrastructure, and abandoning some existing projects.
  • All around the world communities are mobilising against new fossil fuel projects and infrastructure including the Dakota Access Pipeline in America, the Canadian Tar Sands, Amu Power Coal Mine in Kenya and the Adani Carmichael Coal mine here in Australia. Communities are demanding action on climate change for a safe future.
  • Natural gas produces less carbon dioxide per unit energy than coal does, making it appear at first glance as a cleaner fuel. But natural gas is predominantly composed of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and when leaks at drilling fields and pipelines are included it is considered as polluting as coal.

Don't Frack the NT

  • Territorians want fracking banned in the NT over concerns of groundwater contamination, industrialisation of the landscape and climate change. 
  • 85% of the Northern Territory is under application for exploration for petroleum and gas, and 51% is open to be fracked.
  • NT Indigenous communities and pastoralists are under pressure to sign on to support gas exploration. Once the license is granted there is no opportunity to stop invasive gas fields from developing.
  • The Final Report of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing states that the community expressed an acute lack of confidence in the current regulatory framework to protect the environment of the Northern Territory.
  • Many submissions that the Panel received suggested that the development of an onshore shale gas industry would have significant adverse impacts on business operations, particularly in the pastoral, agricultural, horticultural and tourism industries.
  • Territorians are being told that we must frack the NT to help fix the East Coast gas crisis. Yet most Australian gas is being exported and globally there is an oversupply of gas. Import terminals are currently being proposed for the East Coast to sell exported gas back to Australia from Japan. This is ludicrous.

Fracking and the Climate

  • Northern Territory emissions have risen 28% over the last ten years. The NT must take action to reduce emissions, not raise them significantly by opening up shale gas fields.
  • If the Beetaloo Basin is fracked it is estimated that the carbon emissions will be 4-5 times that of the Adani project.
  • The final report from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing recommends that the NT and Australian governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase in the life cycle GHG emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT. The Gunner Government is negotiating this with the Federal Government - who don't have a climate policy and are openly skeptical of climate change.
  • It is doubtful that a 5% increase in Australian emissions can be offset, and that there could be no net increase in emissions from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT.
  • The final report acknowledges that a single gas field would increase Australia’s emissions by 4.5% and 0.05% of global emissions.

Renewable Energy Future

  • Solar power has now become the cheapest form of new electricity generation and renewables are entering an era of undercutting the price of fossil fuel generated electricity.
  • Building fossil fuel infrastructure offsets investment in renewable energy. New fossil fuel infrastructure will become stranded assets in a world that is moving to renewable energy.
  • Governments must abandon polluting fossil fuel projects and transition to renewable energy immediately to meet climate change targets.
  • The NT Gunner Government has a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. This is going to require a rapid scaling of investment in infrastructure to support renewable energy generation, storage and distribution.

ALEC urges all community members who have concerns over climate change and the threat of opening up the Territory to unconventional gas fields and fracking to take immediate action.

Call Minister Ken Vowles on 08 89365680, sign the petition on this page and email a letter personally to minister.vowles@nt.gov.au.

Please also call Chief Minister Micheal Gunner 08 89365500 and email chief.minister@nt.gov.au.

Links:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/why-we-need-to-keep-80-percent-of-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground-20160215

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/27/fracking-digging-drilling-paris-agreement-fossil-fuels

http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/world-gas-market-faces-glut-says-iea

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-15/world-energy-hits-a-turning-point-solar-that-s-cheaper-than-wind

http://www.michaelwest.com.au/as-power-bills-swell-so-do-the-fortunes-of-power-companies-and-billionaires/

Will you sign the petition?

92
1,000 signatures

Dear Minister Vowles,

Community members have significant concerns on the practice of "fracking" and the impacts of the unconventional gas industry, and want to see the practice banned. 

The final report from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing acknowledges that a single gas field would increase Australia’s emissions by 5% and 0.05% of global emissions.

For any new onshore shale gas field in the NT, the Panel assessed the unmitigated risks to climate change associated with methane emissions and GHG emissions (including methane) to be either ‘medium’ or ‘high’. The report has deemed this level of risk unacceptable. This is an issue of national importance.

The Northern Territory is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. We can’t just stand by and watch emissions rise from new gas projects, land clearing and lack of industry innovation. A ban on fracking is the best option for the Territory to reduce the risks.

We urge the NT Government to protect Northern Territory groundwater, climate and communities and ban fracking.