by Gareth Hughes
State owned enterprises shouldn’t be fracking.
Stuff reports that Solid Energy says it has discovered significant coal seam gas reserves in Taranaki, and acknowledges that it could face opposition from environmentalists if the methane gas is extracted using hydraulic fracturing – or fracking.
It isn’t clear if they actually will use the controversial method but I think there is a fair chance they will so I’m calling on the Government to direct State Owned Enterprise Solid Energy not to frack while the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is investigating.
It would be reckless for Solid Energy to commence fracking for coal seam gas given numerous overseas studies which have linked fracking to drinking water contamination, human health problems and earthquakes.
Across the ditch in Australia, fracking for coal seam gas in Queensland has seen numerous problems. For example in Queensland, Origin Energy found contaminated water near drilling sites. The Sydney Morning Herald reports “The discovery of BTEX – a mixture of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene – around eight coal seam gas wells near Miles, west of Brisbane, marks the first time a resources company has admitted to contaminating water at a fracking site.” A year earlier a coal seam fracking operation connected a local aquifer to the coal seam gas well through a blasting mishap, allowing migration of the chemical used in the blasting into the aquifer. In New South Wales traces of toxic chemicals were found at a ”fracking” operation to extract coal seam gas.
There’s clearly an environmental concern with fracking for coal seam gas, and the fact it could be a state-owned enterprise doing the fracking is a worry. It also highlights the fact that if we sell off part of Solid Energy as the Government wants to do, it will be harder to direct them away from concerning practises such as this.