Alliance Condemns AGL: "Don't Frack in Gloucester!"
THE Manning Alliance has condemned AGL's most recent proposal to recommence the "destructive practice" of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Gloucester region, a practice that the Alliance claims to be highly unstable, unpredictable and with potentially severe consequences.
"We are extremely disappointed with AGL's recent announcement that they have applied to the NSW Government for permission to recommence "fracking" in Gloucester." Chairman of the Manning Alliance Mr Peter Epov said.
"Simply put, it is very deliberate, calculated and incendiary, and aimed at politicising the issue at time when there has been a change in the federal government and the new minister is attempting to refuel a national gas rush. There is absolutely no valid reason for AGL to be re-introducing this dangerous practice in Gloucester at this time.
"We have just been through one of the driest Septembers in history and our water levels are very low and at risk. We do not need a major fracking incident, which may impact, on our water supply.
"This issue is not about Gloucester, it is the entire Manning River Catchment that may end up suffering the consequences of hydraulic fracturing. We do not want methane gas bubbling from the bottom of the Manning River.
"Any Coal Seam Gas supply from Gloucester will not dramatically revolutionise this State's need for energy, it is just a drop in the bucket, but at a huge expense to a significantly important region.
"The fact is that the entire country is surrounded by gas, we have hundreds of years of gas supply just from Bass Straight alone, NSW does not need to have its own gas supply, and clearly not at the expense of water, river catchments, prime agricultural land and coastal communities.
"AGL should now do the right thing and gracefully pull out of Gloucester whilst they can salvage some respect."
CSG haste concerns
MIDCOAST Water has expressed disappointment at the speed of the progress of the Gloucester coal seam methane gas project - saying AGL has applied to resume fracturing ahead of the completion of a water study of the area.
Chairperson Cr David West said the water utility was concerned AGL had announced they would conduct hydraulic fracture simulation on the wells already drilled at Waukivory, and that this would occur prior to the completion of a water study to be undertaken by independent experts appointed by Gloucester Shire Council.
"We are extremely disappointed that AGL is now looking to fracture one of the wells to gauge how much gas flows prior to this independent water study being undertaken," Cr West said.
"We feel any fracturing is premature and should be delayed until after the results of the independent water study are made known."
Gloucester Shire Council is due to announce the experts appointed to conduct the study next week.
AGL have indicated they will shortly lodge a Review of Environmental Factors application for the next stage of development of the four wells drilled last year and this part of the program will test the amount of gas produced, monitor the amount of water produced and provide information about the geology and hydrogeology of the area. To do so the well will be hydraulically fracture stimulated.
While MidCoast Water accepts that hydraulic fracture stimulation is a well-established practice used to widen the existing cleats (or fractures) in the coal to allow trapped gas to flow more easily out of the coal seams, it is the timing of the action that is of concern, Cr West said.
"It may well be that the fracturing of the well will have no impact on the water, however there is also the possibility that it may and it will be difficult to tell if it is carried out before the study is completed."
MidCoast Water has previously expressed disappointment at the granting of a conditional approval for the gas project by the Federal Government before a bioregional assessment was undertaken.
Bioregional assessments are a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology and geology of an area for the purpose of assessing the potential risks to water resources in the area as a result of impacts of coal seam gas or large coal mining development.
The approval, granted to AGL by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, is for the construction, operation and decommissioning of not more than 110 coal seam gas wells and associated infrastructure including gas and water gathering lines. The approval also covered a central processing facility, the construction of a transfer line to Hexham and a gas receiving station at Hexham.