New South Wales Government acts on oil and gas concerns

The New South Wales government has announced a ban on all coal seam gas development within two kilometres of residential areas and industry clusters, such as horse breeders and wine producers, across the state.

Good on the New South Wales government for considering the quality of life of its residents and protecting them from the effects of noise, visual impacts and other effects of coal seam gas activities. Although rural residents also need protection from these effects, this is a good start.

It highlights the similar issue we face in New Zealand of oil and gas – including the controversial fracking practice – occurring near homes, schools and towns.

I think our Government and Councils should look at the merits of taking a similar approach with the oil and gas industry in New Zealand. Basic safe guidelines should be enforced along with greater opportunities for communities and the public to have a say when consents are considered.

There is no place for the oil and gas industry within our residential neighbourhoods, nor right next to our farmhouses. I was horrified recently to view photos from Taranaki of homes within 200m of gas wells and schools near fracking production sites. It’s another example of the light-handed approach we have taken to regulating this industry.

However, to avoid real safety risks and environmental harm, the better option is to focus on clean energy alternatives instead of ramping up production of climate-warming fossil fuels and allowing industry to drill within our towns and cities.

45 thoughts on “New South Wales Government acts on oil and gas concerns

  1. “…instead of … allowing industry to drill within our towns and cities.”

    Unless they are drilling to tap a geothermal resource (using fluid re-injection of course).

    Trevor.

  2. I was horrified

    Horrified I tells yah….

    Dangerous compared to what, exactly? Got some statistics, Gareth? How many people have been hurt by these wells compared to, say, bicycles?

  3. OK Arana, let’s start with Pavillion, Wyoming where the US Environmental Protection Agency found fracking chemicals in a drinking water aquifer in 2011.

  4. A little detail seems to have escaped you Arana, which is that Gareth described the negatives in terms of quality of life issues and didn’t call Fracking particularly “dangerous” in his post.

  5. Air pollution is also a health issue related to gas wells. A recent peer reviewed study found more than 50 Non Methane Hydrocarbons (NMHCs) in air samples taken near gas wells in rural Colorado, including 35 that affect the brain and nervous system. A Colorado School of Public Health study found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near fracked gas wells. That report said those living within half a mile of natural gas drilling sites faced greater health risks than those who live farther away. And exactly what risk do bicycles pose to public health?

  6. A little detail seems to have escaped you Arana, which is that Gareth described the negatives in terms of quality of life issues and didn’t call Fracking particularly “dangerous” in his post.

    Little “details” like that are pedantry and not the point. He’s clearly runnin’ negative, unless “horrified” is somehow positive.

    This is a cost/benefit question.

    Just like bicycles. Yes, people die riding bicycles. But bicycles do a lot of good, too. Let’s not describe bicycles as horrific. That’s just silly.

  7. A Colorado School of Public Health study found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near fracked gas wells. That report said those living within half a mile of natural gas drilling sites faced greater health risks than those who live farther away.

    Compared to what? What’s you baseline?

    If you live in a city, how many “toxic petroleum hydrocarbons” do you inhale? Is it a major problem, or does it just sound like one?

  8. The comparison was between those living in rural areas close to fracking wells and those further away. There is a problem with air pollution from fossil fuels in cities, pleased you are aware of it, another good reason to change to clean energy. Those tragic cycling deaths wouldn’t have involved motor vehicles would they?

  9. No Arana… you are not permitted to set up a straw man here to knock down. It was NOT described as dangerous and thus your arguments are against a non-existent target. Gareth used to be a lot more – aggressive – about this. Dangerous was something he argued. Now he is arguing QOL and you effectively aren’t arguing with him but with your recollection of him or your imagination. Not useful.

  10. There is a problem with air pollution from fossil fuels in cities, pleased you are aware of it, another good reason to change to clean energy.

    I fear you are missing the point by some considerable distance.

  11. No Arana… you are not permitted to set up a straw man here to knock down. It was NOT described as dangerous and thus your arguments are against a non-existent target.

    BJ, you’re getting as bad as Greenfly with your silly semantics. No one is “horrified” by something benign, so I can rightly assume he senses danger.

    Unless “horrified” means “kind of interested”.

  12. The release of CO2 into the atmosphere that’s already loaded beyond recommended levels, “benign”?

    Goose.

  13. “No one is “horrified” by something benign, so I can rightly assume he senses danger.”

    What non-sense. You cannot rightly assume any such thing. A person might just as well be horrified by seeing resource waste, or corruption, or the break-down of democracy. People are horrified by many things they don’t consider “dangerous”. I’m horrified by your duplicity, for example, and your disrespect for rational argument and those who present it. Horrified :-)

  14. The release of CO2 into the atmosphere that’s already loaded beyond recommended levels, “benign”?

    It’s the answer to everything, eh. When all else fails, we can’t do something because of….global warming!! Nothing at all to do with proximity, then. Why not just say “we should not undertaking fracking because of global warming” and be done with it?

  15. Fracking is a technique used to extract oil and gas. There are local effects from fracking with risks to aquifers and with local air pollution, but the main reason there should not be more fracking is that fossil fuels add to global warming and ocean acidification. Yes, you got it! Gareth’s post was about local effects, but thanks for reminding us all about the other problems associated with such a dirty practice.

  16. Why not just say “we should not undertaking fracking because of global warming” and be done with it?

    That is almost precisely what I DO say and have said from the outset.

    There is an exception to even that though and that is where the energy obtained from the Gas taken from a well is used to replace the energy obtained from Coal taken from a mine, and this is done without loss of any gas into the atmosphere… because Gas burning creates less CO2 per Kilowatt-Hour than Coal burning. That only, is an excuse for it, and it is a feeble excuse..

  17. Arana! A moment of clarity for you! Savour it, feel the quality of it;
    “we should not undertaking fracking because of global warming”.

    Of course there are aspects of fracking that have negative local effects, as Gareth has described, but those pale into insignificance beside the effect you have finally twigged-to, climate change.
    This is a red letter day for you, Arana, or at least yesterday was. By now you’ve probably suppressed your realization and reverted to bleating “fracking is goooood!“, but for a moment there, you were with us!

  18. there should not be more fracking is that fossil fuels add to global warming and ocean acidification

    Yawn. Do you use oil? If so, you support fracking. You’re adding to the demand that makes these wells financially viable.

  19. “we should not undertaking fracking because of global warming”.

    That is the Green myth, yes. I am aware of it. It’s unsubstantiated nonsense, of course.

    but for a moment there, you were with us!

    No, I prefer science, not hysterical conjecture based on outlier projections.

  20. “There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically. Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence”.

    tinyurl.com/7qamgu5

  21. Arana’s quote above is from a Wall Street Journal editorial opinion piece signed by 16 “concerned” scientists including Richard Lindzen – not exactly unbiased.

    The article also claims that “climate change” brings in sponsorship for academic research. Given the large number of scientists supporting the position of the IPCC or even working on the IPCC documents, and the small number of scientists working for organisations denying climate change and often sponsored by the oil companies and others who stand to lose if business as usual is forced to curb some of their excesses, the truth is that there is more money for individual scientists to jump on the latter bandwagon than to support the climate change position.

    While the claim that increased CO2 levels leads to increase plant growth may be true, I expect food prices to rise significantly in the next few decades as available land decreases due to rising sea levels and increasing storm surges, and as growing conditions deteriorate due to elevated temperatures, droughts and storms. Do the economic calculations referred to by Arana’s link takes these effects into account?

    Has Arana or any of the 16 “concerned” scientists noticed that the oceans are getting more acidic and the Arctic ice is disappearing?

    Trevor.

  22. “Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

    A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists (commonly known as earth scientists) and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.”

    tinyurl.com/apygl8a

  23. You ‘prefer science’ Arana, that should be a Tui billboard. ‘There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to decarbonize the world’s economy’ Yeah right! As for the pathetic non argument that anyone who has ever used fossil fuels may not speak of their negative effects and advocate for alternatives, that’s just rubbish.

  24. ‘There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to decarbonize the world’s economy’
    Oh, how we laughed and laughed here when we read that disingenuous comment, Arana. How we giggled and slapped our thighs! How we scrunched up your effort to mislead and undermine and tossed it, with a flourish, into the waste-paper bin!
    Viv – your straightforward honesty has undone Arana and cast her claims in the troll-poop they are.

  25. Well, you said ‘scientific argument’ and there very definitely are compelling reasons to decarbonise based on science. Starting with ocean acidification, you keep ignoring that one. The oil and gas companies stand to lose billions, so naturally are fighting it all the way and are prepared to spend many millions on propaganda. They would love you Arana, doing their dirty work for free.

  26. Greenfly taking the intellectual high road again, I see. I’m sure many people will be delighted when you finally decide to contribute to a debate, as opposed to harping from the sidelines like a shell-suit wearing auntie at a kids netball match.

    The oil and gas companies stand to lose billions

    Not while you’re driving your car and buying things, they’re not. I’d say their future is locked in, until we can come up with energy that is as cheap and energy dense.

  27. Ocean acidification is well within natural ranges, Viv.

    “Far from being a stable pH, spots all over the world are constantly changing. One spot in the ocean varied by an astonishing 1.4 pH units regularly. All our human emissions are projected by models to change the world’s oceans by about 0.3 pH units over the next 90 years, and that’s referred to as “catastrophic”, yet we now know that fish and some calcifying critters adapt naturally to changes far larger than that every year, sometimes in just a month, and in extreme cases, in just a day.”

    joannenova.com.au/2012/01/scripps-blockbuster-ocean-acidification-happens-all-the-time-naturally/

  28. “Shell-suit”? I had to look it up, but how on earth do you come to be using that term???
    Unexpectedly, you have said something that interests me – first time!

  29. Arana says “”Greenfly taking the intellectual high road again, I see. I’m sure many people will be delighted when you finally decide to contribute to a debate, as opposed to harping from the sidelines like a shell-suit wearing auntie at a kids netball match.”

    The oceans will probably rise 2 metres before that happens.

  30. The pH scale is logarithmic Arana, a change of 0.3 means 3x. Perhaps you should go and find another bridge to play under.

  31. Arana –

    You have been taken in by a person named Taylor, who reported on peer reviewed research that was conducted amongst “the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta”.

    Effectively the same as polling the workers of Philip Morris about the dangers of tobacco.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/

    Notice that Taylor doesn’t actually tell you that.

    One of the AUTHOR’S of that study (Lefsrud) was so annoyed by the erroneous interpretation of the data that she answered his article online refuting the claims.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/?commentId=comment_blogAndPostId/blog/comment/1363-1219-5279

    She was polite. However…

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2013/02/14/james-taylor-misinterprets-study-by-180-degrees/comment-page-1/

    Taylor is from the Heartland Institute and is basically a liar.

    As for the other

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/examining-the-latest-climate-denialist-plea-for-inaction.html

    These aren’t climate scientists

    … they are denialist shills, and the WS Journal (rhymes with) is little better than Faux with respect to its reporting of Climate Science.

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2013/02/14/james-taylor-misinterprets-study-by-180-degrees/comment-page-1/

  32. Opinion is, at best, divided on these subjects. There will be a time for alarm and running around in circles about how the sky really is falling on our heads, but that time isn’t now.

    When Ducky Lucky starts, then it’s time.

  33. greenfly says “Neither you, photonz1, nor Arana, enjoy my contributions to Frogblog.”

    It’s more enjoyable now that I have a mental picture of you in your shell suit.

  34. arana – are you aware that pH also changes with temperature? pH is defined as the negative of the logarithm of the concentration of H+ ions, so the pH of a neutral solution decreases with increasing temperature, due to increasing dissociation at higher temperatures. However adding CO2 is a change to the acidity on top of these temperature effects. Add enough CO2 and calcium carbonate reacts with it to become soluble calcium bicarbonate and there go the sea shells.

    Trevor.

  35. Who’s opinion is divided Arana? Do you have any notion about the actual science at all? If you do not then you can only rely on the opinions of the scientists who study this for your knowledge of it. Their opinions are not divided. To a fairly unusual degree they are quite explicitly telling you it IS time to panic.

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/icevolanim.gif

    Arguments based on Jo Nova’s misinformation supply are a joke. SHE knows less than nothing…

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ocean-acidification-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    To put it in another way, people who object to doing and refuse the collective need to do something about the destruction of the climate commons are engaged in generational theft. It is obscene to be holding out such nonsense at this point. It is unethical. It is immoral. It is unsustainable and it is unsupportable. No argument suffices to release us from our obligation.

    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – American Indian Saying.

    So what you’re trying to say is that there is no consensus ? Despite being shown that Taylor was lying you still trust such sources?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

    Now if you want lessons you can find them in the places the denialists deride… because they can’t actually argue with the science there.

Comments are closed.