The Northern Territory’s brand-new fracking laws enter result today however the Government is still investigating choices for installing an independent individual to oversee applications from energy companies.The new legislation is an attempt to appease critics that are concerned the questionable approach of drawing out gas and oil is environmentally hazardous, as the Opposition Labor Party continues to push for a moratorium on the practice. More information can be obtained from medicare fraud hotline.
A cornerstone of the new policy is that fracking companies need to persuade the Government the risk of environmental damage is “appropriate” and “as low as reasonably practicable”.
” One of the major changes to the policies working today is a relocation from the Government informing business ways to build or develop their jobs,” Department of Mines chief executive Ron Kelly stated.
” We’ve relocated to a process where we tell business what they need to attain then it’s up to the company to come up with a strategy or a process or building strategy that we assess as acceptable.
” An example of that will be ensuring an aquifer will not be contaminated.”
Throughout a debate in Parliament, concern was raised that the procedure lacked openness, resulting in the Minister for Mines and Energy Dave Tollner assuring an independent “3rd umpire”.
” In the spending plan there was the statement of a chief researcher role in the Northern Territory,” Mr. Kelly said.
” We’re looking at how we can use services of that entity also in overseeing the governance and application of our procedures here.”
Argument over need for minimum standards
The Government said it made a “intentional” move to not prescribe minimum standards but rather to assess each proposition on its merits.
” Whatever we put in as a minimum basic now is exactly what business will follow,” Mr. Kelly said.
” What we are attempting to encourage here is continued improvement and best practice of the operations and the proposed building and construction strategies.”
But independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood stated that did not provide sufficient certainty and called for a minimum set of standards.
” The integrity of the wellhead is one of the most important things in relation to securing the environment,” Mr. Wood said.
” Some of the regulations in Western Australia in relation to oil and gas … there is a set of guidelines with a clear background to those guidelines.
” Let’s set a high requirement, if business can go to a greater standard that’s well and good.”
Mr. Wood said he would continue to deal with the Government on the concern, including the promise of an independent inspector to examine agreements and mine stability.
” By having somebody independent that will get rid of any criticisms that [fracking agreements] might be in-house,” he said.
” Because people do have concerns and a great deal of those issues are genuine then we’ve got to make sure things are done properly and separately.”
The brand-new laws will also need the publication of a fracking company’s ecological management plan.