21 Mar 2016

The campaign against gas operations is ignoring environment realities.

Natural gas is not only an essential industry feedstock, it also making a significant environmental contribution in providing a cleaner energy future.

Recently, the International Energy Agency said carbon emissions in the US had declined by two per cent last year due to greater use of natural gas for electricity generation.

The natural gas industry can also coexist safely and sustainably with agriculture.

Just look at Queensland.

The state’s beef and crop exports are up and 97 per cent of the water from natural gas production is made available for beneficial use, with most of this going to agriculture.

Just as assessments of the health of the environment are based on scientific assessments, people considering the impact of natural gas extraction and use should also focus on the credible and detailed science that supports the value of gas as a cleaner energy source and a bridge to a lower carbon future.

Yet NSW has imposed unnecessary restrictions on gas exploration and production, despite the NSW Chief Scientist and other credible authorities declaring it can be safely developed.

These restrictions will impose supply pressures which will have a material impact for households and business.

Pressures on NSW natural gas supply are both real and pressing.

This month, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission called for more gas to be developed in order to put downward pressure on prices and ensure reliable supply.

The following day, the Australian Energy Market Operator warned that developed gas reserves in eastern Australia can only meet forecast demand until 2019.

Industry respects the democratic right to protest but private landowners and workers should be protected from vandalism, theft and harassment.

This blog post was originally published in a slightly different form in The Newcastle Herald on 22 March.