Gareth Hughes

Smith gets it wrong on fracking

by Gareth Hughes

Former Environment Minister Nick Smith has been peddling a pro-fracking article across the country’s newspapers but he can’t even get his facts straight.

In his article trying to ‘inject some science and common sense into the debate’ Smith has been caught-out with his incorrect comment that ‘geothermal energy resources in the upper North Island that can be developed only with fracking’ and that the Greens were hypocritical campaigning for green jobs when our fracking stance would kill the geothermal industry.

He’s been rebuffed by a highly credible source.Brian White, the Executive Officer of the New Zealand Geothermal Association (NZGA) commented on Smith’s article saying ‘we do not want the New Zealand geothermal industry to be misrepresented in this debate.’… and ‘While certain similarities exist between drilling for oil and gas and drilling for geothermal resources, hydraulic fracturing is NOT used in the New Zealand geothermal industry.’

It does Smith no credit to be misrepresenting facts to advance his Government’s pro-fracking agenda.

I’ve been saying this for donkey’s years: Fracking has been used overseas in a new geothermal process called Enhanced Geothermal Systems, (EGS) but EGS has never been used in New Zealand or by any NZ company.

Smith also focuses on earthquakes and misrepresents the Green Party as focusing on this issue alone when it comes to fracking. That is not and has never been the case. The science has certainly proven a link between earthquakes and fracking and that’s a big concern, and we’ve always acknowledged that a lot more research needs to go into the issue.

However, there’s other more immediately concerning risks associated with fracking like water pollution, water use and air pollution (not to mention climate change) which warrant using a precautionary approach and putting a moratorium on fracking NOW.

I’m happy to have a chat with Nick if he needs some further clarification about what fracking is and where its used.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Gareth Hughes on Thu, August 16th, 2012   

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