South Australians will join a national call to federal MPs to control the reckless fossil fuel expansion taking place across the country, the Conservation Council of South Australia said in a statement.
MPs Australia-wide will receive the ‘Call to Country’ document, which describes the dangers of the current coal and gas mining expansion, and sets out 10 clear asks for the federal government to slow it down.
The asks include placing an immediate moratorium on mining for unconventional gas (such as coal seam and shale gas) until a rigorous assessment of its risks has been carried out.
Chief Executive of the Conservation Council SA Tim Kelly said: “In South Australia our government is aggressively pushing unconventional gas developments via its Roadmap for Unconventional Gas, yet the state’s plan for renewable energy sits on the sidelines and is largely unconvincing and unsupported. We need to turn this around so the state’s Roadmap is towards renewable energy and that the role of gas is limited as we make this transition.”
“The government seems to have forgotten that gas is a fossil fuel and we must be moving away from fossil fuels. Unconventional gas requires more energy to produce than natural gas and in the process leaks methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is regarded as 25 times worse than carbon dioxide.
“The Roadmap gives no indication that the government sees gas as a temporary transitional fuel. It has its eyes on export markets, so Australian gas will drive emissions overseas as well as here.”
The Call to Country asks that prime agricultural land, national tourism icons and sensitive environmental areas be protected from coal and gas.
Mr Kelly said: “It is shocking to think that only 6% of Australia’s land is viable for agriculture, and we are willing to put it at risk. South Australia’s foodbowl in the South East is identified for shale gas development, which requires more of the controversial fracking process than coal seam gas.”
“South Australians need to know what is being planned for their own backyard. Unconventional gas requires a large amount of infrastructure, roads, wells and pipelines to support it, as well as port facilities to export it, should such plans proceed. All of this will create new environmental risks for communities and biodiversity.
“It is time for politicians to heed the will of the people. We do not want rampant expansion of coal and gas because we know that we need to go in a different direction.
With both federal and state elections in the next year, all political parties will need to reveal whether they will prioritise protection of our most important natural assets, or whether they will trade them away for unsustainable fossil fuel industries,” concluded Mr Kelly.
Source: Conservation Council of South Australia, March 7, 2013