“All the evidence suggests the risks to human health and the climate just aren’t worth it,” said Social Justice Initiative researcher Jeremy Moss.
The paper looks set to fuel further public and political debate on the risks and merits of coal seam gas and shale gas development in Australia. It follows a separate report released by the Australia Institute in October, which criticised the petroleum industry for failing to address public concerns about coal seam gas.
The Australia Institute said that research analysed for the latest paper found serious health impacts associated with chemicals used in gas extraction process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. A separate risk involves the danger from contaminated waste water produced during the fracking process, the report notes, pointing to cases in the US where waste water accidents have affected livestock and soil tests have revealed high levels of materials toxic to humans.
The unconventional gas industry argues that properly regulated fracking and gas extraction in general are safe, and that gas wells are constructed to ensure no gas leaks to neighbouring bores and aquifers."