There are numerous dangerous side effects the fracking industry doesn’t want the world to know about, but in Victoria, Australia, farmers won’t have to worry about earthquakes, deadly chemical byproducts, and the subsequent damage to the environment and human health caused by this method of unearthing fossil fuels. Why? The Australian state has just made the unprecedented move to ban fracking along with ‘onshore unconventional gas’ exploration.
Outcry from local farmers helped to sway the government to make the historical decision, and though the lawsuits are already piling up in response to the fracking ban, causing stock shares in some Gas and Oil companies to plummet by as much as 50 percent, the local residents of Victoria are celebrating their victory.
The response to ban coal seem and fracking is overwhelmingly positive in fact, but gas and oil lobbyists are nonplussed.
The Australian premiere’s office stated, “They simply don’t support fracking. The government’s decision is based on the best available evidence and acknowledges that the risks involved outweigh any potential benefits to Australia.”
More than $11.6 billion in exports that rely on farmer’s crops and 190,000 jobs would be affected by fracking should it have been allowed to continue.
The government says that it will extend the moratorium on fracking until June 30, 2020 at which time additional studies on the risks to the environment and human health have been more thoroughly assessed.
Though the mainstream media is trying to spin Victoria’s decision as a ‘death wish,’ the Natural Resources Defense Council has revealed that people both near and far from oil and gas drilling are exposed to fracking-related air pollution that can cause at least five major types of health impacts. Fracking also contaminates ground water, as well as contributing to reproductive, mutagenic, and cancerous complications.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there can be up to 435 products containing 344 different chemicals used for one drilling. That means for every fracking situation that occurs and untold number of chemicals is being released into the air, water, and soil.
California, arguably America’s farming heartland, is just beginning to understand the ramifications of fracking on its agriculture. As many as one of every five oil and gas projects occurs in underground sources of fresh water, according to a new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a state where water has never been more precious, perhaps they should follow Victoria’s lead – and ban fracking altogether.
A “permanent legislative ban” will be introduced later in 2016 to Parliament, but a “current moratorium” will make sure that unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t occur for now, protecting farmers and their livelihood.
Image credit: Greenpeace: Les Stone