- The Guardian
- Issue #2063
Photo: greensefa – flickr.com (CC BY 2.0).
Water is life. But right now, Tamboran Resources is on the fast track to frack the Northern Territory, and water is at risk of being poisoned before it’s protected.
With its super-sized rigs known as “mega frackers,” Tamboran is preparing to drill across hundreds of kilometres, use up to quadruple the amount of water than anything else in Australia, leak toxic chemicals into the groundwater, and release millions of tonnes of climate pollution – every single year.
On 24th July it was learned that the first mega fracker is on site where it will drill its first test well without consent from Traditional Owners. A whopping one km wide, this test well could be the first of hundreds to put precious groundwater at risk.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has promised to put stronger water protections in our environment laws – but not until next year, when the damage could have already been done. The Minister has the option to introduce these protections right now.
Tamboran Resources is on the fast track to frack the Northern Territory, so the Environment Minister must fast track stronger water protections to stop them in time.
In the United States, thousands of fracking wells were drilled before the regulations caught up. By the time they did, it was too late, and tonnes of cancer-causing chemicals were already in the land and water. Frackers are banking on the same situation taking place in Australia.
In the Northern Territory, fracking is in the so-called “exploration” phase, where there are very few requirements. There’s no need to consult with Traditional Owners, minimise harm, or even secure a licence before selling fracked gas from exploration. It’s known as “production by stealth” – and sales are about to kick off.
But Traditional Owners and local communities have defended the Northern Territory from fracking for over a decade, and together, we can demonstrate a huge show of support for the Minister to take immediate action. The fracking industry is here now, and we can show the government that our regulations must catch up before it’s too late.
350 Australia (350.org.au)