The Tasmanian Greens today defended Tasmania’s farmers against the potential loss of livelihood through coal seam gas mining, or ‘fracking’, and endorsed the move by national Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown to give agricultural landowners the right to say yes or no to gas exploration or extraction on their land.
Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth said the Bill proposed by Senator Brown would give landholders the simple right to ‘shut the gate’ to companies who wanted to look for methane gas reserves under their farmland, a right some landholders might already mistakenly think is theirs.
“Tasmania boasts some of Australia’s richest agricultural land. But that’s land which could be literally undermined, poisoned and devalued if coal seam gas mining, or fracking, were to occur beneath it, with the landholder having little realistic say in the matter,” said Mr Booth.
“The Bill Senator Brown will bring to the Senate in the next fornight will give that say rightfully to farmers, and I believe that’s a good thing for our agricutural industry.”
“Fracking is hugely controversial, and can contaminate large areas underground, poisoning aquifers and using a toxic stew of more than 80 chemicals to extract methane. There’s a reason this relatively new practice has already been suspended in the UK and banned in some jurisdictions, including several US states and in France.
“I want to prevent some of the disasters we’ve seen elsewhere, such as landowners being able to set fire to natural water springs in Pennsylvnia, from also happening in this State.”
“To anyone who calls the Greens ‘anti-mining’ for our responsible stance, I would ask them, ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ because denying our farmers a say over what happens on and under their land risks continminating our world-class argicultural produce and brand Tasmania.
“I’m amazed to find myself agreeing with the Liberals’ national leader Tony Abbott, who said: ‘We don’t want to see prime agricultural land destroyed and we think that the rights of farmers should always be respected’.” (HERE)
“Unlike Mr Abbott, however, it is the Greens, led by Senator Brown, who are acting and actually intend to give this right to farmers in law,” said Mr Booth.
Reference: Tony Abbott ‘Doorstop’, 15 Aug 2011, http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2011/08/15/Tony-Abbott-Doorstop.aspx