Naturally occurring BTEX highlights the need to ban fracking

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 May 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that fracking should be banned across NSW following the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that concluded that BTEX chemicals found in AGL’s frack water at its Waukivory coal seam gas operations was naturally occurring in the coal seam and wasmobilised by fracking.  He expressed concern that neither the EPA or the Department of Resources and Energy (DRE) discuss or make findings on AGL’s nearly two week delay in reporting the incident.

The EPA report:

“It is likely that the fracturing process has led to naturally occurring BTEX being detected in flowback water at levels above background levels. However, the EPA also found that it is unlikely that BTEX travelled outside of the fractured part of the coal seam.” 

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said: “The fact that toxic BTEX chemicals are mobilised by the fracking process highlights the need to ban fracking across NSW.

“The ban on BTEX additives to fracking and drilling fluids was always a smokescreen for the fact that BTEX occurs naturally in the coal seams and can be brought to the surface by gas extraction techniques.

“BTEX chemicals are known carcinogens and should be left in the coal seams underground, not brought to the surface in coal seam gas waste water.

“Once again environmental regulations have had to change to catch up with the coal seam gas industry.  The simple fact is that no amount of regulation can make safe an industry that extracts large amounts of salty, chemical laden water to the surface.

“The Greens are still very concerned that AGL took two weeks to report the detection of BTEX.  Neither the EPA nor the DRE discuss or make findings on AGL’s delay in reporting the incident.

“The public have a right to know why the detection of toxic chemicals went unreported for nearly two weeks and the relevant Minister’s should explain why this is the case. They can’t just sweep this failure under the carpet,” he said.

 

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