On the 27th of November the Northern Territory Government announced that Santos had begun fracking exploration wells in environmentally sensitive areas of the Beetaloo Basin. ALEC is concerned that Santos is fracking ahead of the wet season despite well-known risks.
According to the Fracking Final Report, wet-season fracking poses serious environmental risks to ground and surface water in the region. Spills could impact delicate river and wetland systems and the threatened species that are known to live in the area.
ALEC supports the Traditional Owners of the Beetaloo region, who continue to express their concerns about this environmentally risky industry.
“Santos’ haste to frack through the wet season blatantly disregards community concern. The EPA has approved the Environmental Management Plan despite widespread community opposition. Santos does not have any social licence to frack in the Beetaloo,” said Alex Read, Policy Officer at Arid Lands Environment Centre.
Fracking will remain a highly contentious issue in the lead up to the Territory election, as people resist the expansion of the gas industry. Gas production is not likely to start for another three years while Strategic Regional Environmental Baseline Assessments are underway, and in this time we will see growing political pressure to stop this polluting industry moving into production.
“We simply cannot afford to continue subsidising this industry that has a proven track record of causing environmental harm. We need answers to critical questions about the protection of landholder access rights and offsetting methane emissions, which were part of the Fracking Inquiry,” said Mr Read.
“The majority of Territorians do not have any confidence in the industry or the regulator and understand fracking is too risky, unnecessary, and unwanted.”
While exploration has commenced, there is no guarantee that the industry will move to production, especially as the movement to protect country, water and climate continues to grow across the nation - and the fight is not over yet.
Link to the NTG community bulletin: https://hydraulicfracturing.nt.gov.au/resources/community-bulletins/community-bulletin-28
Santos EP 161 Approved EMP and the EPA assessment report: https://denr.nt.gov.au/onshore-gas/environment-management-plan/approved-emps