Australians Continue To Say Frack Off

Fracking moratoriums in Australia

Australians Say No To Fracking – Image: Jeremy Buckingham

New polling indicates far more than double the percentage of Australians support moratoriums on the controversial practice of fracking compared to those who oppose them.

Fracking is the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure underground in an effort to force open cracks in a coal seam or rock to access the gas or oil beneath it. It’s one of the ways coal seam gas (CSG) is extracted.

Fracking has been linked to all sorts of negative impacts, such as fugitive emissions and depressurisation and contamination of aquifers – even minor earthquakes.

Last year, NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham posted a video that went viral of a “river on fire” near a fracking site in Queensland.

“I was shocked by force of the explosion when I tested whether gas boiling through the Condamine River, Qld was flammable.”

While explosion may be a rather strong term, the escaping gas certainly flared up.

Due to this sort of coverage and the efforts of organisations such as Lock The Gate, the Australian public is a little more aware and wary of the risks associated with fracking, and that awareness is translating to resistance to the practice.

A recent poll conducted by The Australia Institute quizzed respondents on their support or opposition on state bans on fracking.

The poll of 1,420 people from 17 March to 24 March 2017 showed 56% support moratoriums on fracking and just 20% oppose them.

“Opening up more land to fracking is not about reducing energy prices for consumers, but about maximising the profits of the gas industry,” said TAI Deputy Director Ebony Bennett.

“Driving up gas prices and gas industry profits has been the objective of the gas industry for the last ten years. The current gas crisis and high gas prices are not an unintended consequence, but the result of linking Australia to the international gas market”.

As we recently mentioned, gas prices in Australia are reportedly set to increase for the foreseeable future; which would also have an impact on electricity prices. Whether that will now change after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered a trousers-down, bare-bottom spanking of Australian gas industry execs last week remains to be seen.

While the coal, coal seam gas and fossil fuel industries generally aren’t all that popular in Australia these days; when it comes to renewables it’s a very different case.

An earlier TIA poll, also of 1,420 Australians, indicated 77% supported state-based renewable energy targets and 52% supported increasing the current federal Renewable Energy Target for 2020. Just 9% wanted to reduce it.

“Furious attacks have not made any ground on the popularity of renewable energy,” said Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist.

“As prices for renewables and battery storage tumble, clean energy options continue to look better economically and politically.”

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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