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Greens act to protect water from coal seam gas

Australian Greens spokesperson for mining Senator Larissa Waters will introduce a bill into the Senate today to give protection to Australian water resources from mining, including coal seam gas.

The bill would give the federal Government power to consider the impact on Australia's water resources during the assessment and approval of any mining activity, by adding a 'water trigger' to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

"Food security and water are national issues that deserve protection at the federal level, and this bill will allow us to deliver that protection," Senator Waters said.

"The states have demonstrated they are inept at handling the risks associated with coal seam gas mining to date, and Australian communities are now demanding national action to prevent CSG from jeopardising the long term sustainability of our food and water supply.

"Tony Windsor's proposal to use $200-400 million of mining tax revenue to fund proper research into the impacts of CSG on aquifers and ecosystems is a great idea which the Greens support - and it could be funded by the Greens' proposal to include gold in the mining tax.

"But of course this catchment-wide research should have already been done before the rush to cover the driest inhabited continent in the world with CSG wells.

"Water is the most valuable resource our country has, and yet we've allowed the runaway coal seam gas industry, an industry that considers water to be a waste product, to put our surface and groundwater systems at risk.

"CSG risks contaminating groundwater with fracking chemicals and de-watering the groundwater table by punching a hole straight through aquifers, and both the National Water Commission and the CSIRO have voiced their concerns about the long-term impacts of this industry.

"The Greens committed to this action during the 2010 election, and it is the action on coal seam gas that communities are asking for - I am urging all parties to stop kowtowing to the CSG industry and support my bill to protect our precious water resources."

Tuesday 1 November 2011
Media contact: Elissa McKay 0419 626 725


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