Independent Teal MP Dr Sophie Scamps will introduce a Private Member’s Bill into Parliament today aiming to strengthen Australia’s national environmental laws in a bid to protect Australia’s precious water resources from fracking. And, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will introduce a similar bill to the Senate, also aiming to close the loophole which gives gas corporations a free pass on fracking projects like the Beetaloo Basin.
Dr Scamps’ bill would strengthen the water trigger in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) to ensure the Federal Environment Minister accesses all unconventional gas fracking projects for their impact on local water resources - along the lines of an election promise made by the Labor Government.
The bill has been welcomed by a range of environmentalists opposed to fracking in the Beetaloo Basin.
Supportive quotes from environmentalists - interviews are available on request:
Quote from Kirsty Howey, Executive Director at Environment Centre NT:
“The Northern Territory’s precious waterways – from the Roper River to Mataranka Hot Springs – face decimation by fracking without urgent intervention. The Australian Government must move urgently to safeguard our water by expanding the water trigger to include shale gas, or there is a real risk that gas companies will irreversibly damage livelihoods, tourism, pastoralism, sacred sites, communities and the NT’s extraordinary natural and cultural values.
“This is a promise made to the people of the Northern Territory by the Albanese Government, and we expect our politicians to keep it.”
Carmel Flint, National Coordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance, in NSW, said: “There’s no time to waste with getting the water trigger in place for shale gas fracking projects, especially in the Northern Territory.
“Fracking is likely to cause over-extraction and contamination of water sources and will put underground water, creeks and rivers all at risk including iconic sites like Mataranka Hot Springs and the Roper River. Extending the water trigger means the Federal Government will have a role in getting expert advice on fracking threats to water and the power to reject dangerous projects.”
Gavan McFadzean, Program Manager for Climate & Energy at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), in Melbourne, VIC, said: “In order to maintain a liveable climate, we can’t afford to approve any new gas mines. At the very least we must make sure the impact new gas fracking projects will have on Australians’ shared water resources are thoroughly assessed.
“Without an expanded water trigger in our nature laws, enormous new fracking gas mines, like those proposed in the Beetaloo Basin, will go ahead and pollute vital outback water. We need the water trigger expanded to all gas fracking proposals immediately. Since the government has already committed to it, there should not be any delay.”
To arrange interviews, please contact:
Dylan Quinnell, Climate Media Centre, on 0450 668 350 or firstname.lastname@example.org