At the end of a one-year fracking moratorium, Australia’s island state Tasmania confirmed that it will ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing for five more years—until 2020. The island state south of mainland Australia is renowned for its natural beauty and premium food products and, in a desire to protect its natural resources, extended the ban that prevents the controversial extraction technique – for now.
Fracking requires injecting liquid at high pressure into the earth to extract oil or gas. The practice has sparked debate around the world, more recently in such Australian states as New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. The remaining uncertainty about the impact of fracking on water quality and other environmental health issues led to the moratorium’s extension, said Jeremy Rockliff, Primary Industries Minister for Tasmania.
This week, the Green Party went a step further by proposing a permanent ban on fracking in Tasmania, noting the current moratorium’s “bizarre” provision to allow mining exploration during the moratorium. “Our farmers deserve complete certainty about investing in long term cropping and stock business cases,” Greens leader Kim Booth said.
The permanent ban doesn’t currently have the support of the state government, which says it wants to use the next five years to learn more about the affects of fracking. The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers’ Association (TFGA), Dairy Australia, and Wine Tasmania all support the moratorium, while mining companies like Adelaide-based Petratherm stand in opposition.
“There’s no real science underpinning this decision,” Petratherm’s managing director Terry Kallis said.
A similar fracking moratorium is currently in effect in the Australian state of Victoria.
Via ABC News