What is Fracking? Why all the fuss?


Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a technique used to speed up the flow of coal seam gas (CSG) from underground rock formations. A mixture of water, sand & chemicals is pumped at extremely high pressure into the gas-bearing formation. The process fractures the rock, opening up pathways for trapped gas to flow to the well.

There is considerable concern about the damage caused by the CSG mining industry and the lack of research into the risks involved. Short-term greed is compromising the welfare of future generations. The extreme imbalance between the way the mining companies' rights are measured against the rights of others in the community is indicative of a system that has lost its ethical compass.

Large numbers of chemicals are used in the fracking fluid. The National Toxics Network (NTN) has found that only two out of the 23 most commonly used chemicals have been assessed by our industrial chemicals regulator (NICNAS). They have called for a moratorium until a comprehensive hazard assessment is carried out for all fracking chemicals used in Australia, including their risks to human health, ecotoxicology and environmental outcomes (air emissions, releases to groundwater and watercourses), as well as a full costing of the long term public burden of the cleanup of contaminated areas and the impact on the increased landfill capacity needed to deal with the waste products created by these mining methods. Read the full report here.

For information on the devastating effects of CSG mining in America please watch the documentary 'Gasland' by Josh Fox. For the issues in Australia and what to do about it visit Lock the Gate.

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