overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas
development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
Integrated Project by Elfian Schieren, 2012
Australia is a fragile continent in need of economically and environmentally sustainable development.
Australia is a large energy producer and
has recently undergone a massive expansion of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry
in QLD and NSW in response to global market prices and energy demand.
This report aims to provide a preliminary
appraisal of the ability for CSG development to contribute to sustainable
development in Northern Rivers, NSW where considerable investment into CSG is planned.
The report identifies a multitude of
uncertainties regarding impacts from CSG and a lack of sound science
underpinning most predictions. Of particular concern are impacts to water,
health, emissions and long term economic functioning especially at the regional scale.
With regard to the potential range and
scale of the various impacts it is considered imperative to improve the
scientific database of CSG impacts. Cumulative impacts are considered an
essential component of future research due to the likelihood of them occurring.
Sound science underpins good management and
when the consequences are considered potentially “disastrous” precautions should
be taken to ensure that development has a solid scientific basis.
The report concludes that CSG might best be
developed in areas of low environmental, social and economic value to reduce
extraction costs and possible trade-offs between other long term industries.
Elfian Schieren, 2012
School of Environment Science, Engineering and
Management, Southern Cross University
CSG – Coal Seam Gas
GHG – Greenhouse gas
NSW – New South Wales
QLD – Queensland
Coal seam gas – methane extracted from coal seam
geology via drilling, dewatering and fraccing
CSG development – any area undergoing CSG
ecploration or production or building of CSG
infrastructure such as pipelines
Energy – production of electricity for
commercial and domestic purposes including
sale/export of energy in resource form
Green house gas – gases emitted by fossil fuel
burning that increase the concentration of gases
causing climate change in the atmosphere
Ground water – water found in subterranean
Ground water contamination – contamination of
ground water resources from chemicals, organic
compounds and heavy metals
Produced water – water produced through coal
seam gas extraction processes containing
drilling or fraccing fluid substances or
compounds mobilized from the coal seam
Renewable energy – naturally occurring,
theoretically inexhaustible source of energy
that is not from fossil fuel
Queensland | Western Australia |
South Australia |