overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas
development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
Project by Elfian Schieren, 2012
The magnitude of scientific uncertainty surrounding the
impacts of CSG combined with the possible severity of these potential risks
highlights the need for precautionary measures.
The NSW government itself admits with regard to water
contamination that the consequences could be “disastrous”.
When words such as this are used they should not be taken
lightly. Furthermore there are sufficient parallels between scientific and
anecdotal evidence that many of these risks are quite likely to be realised and
therefore should not be ignored.
The Northern Rivers is a vital community with many growth
opportunities in a variety of industries and these are true long term values for
the region. Regional scale impacts appear to be a significant problem associated
with CSG development.
Extensive independent scientific research should underpin such
a development to engender community security and improve prediction accuracy and
This study has managed to provide a brief assessment of the
possible impacts associated with CSG development in Northern Rivers, NSW and has
highlighted the imperative need for further research in several areas.
These areas include but do not end with:
Impacts to water resources, paying particular attention to
groundwater removal, groundwater contamination and treatment and disposal of CSG
The potential for and identification of regional social and
economic impacts in the long term to provide a basis for cost-benefit analysis
Impacts to human and animal health with particular regard to
contact with contaminated water and air in CSG development areas
A comprehensive assessment of the net treatment and disposal
costs for CSG produced water based on sound science
Assessment of the emissions reduction value in comparison to
Assessment of the economic viability of renewable energy
development in Northern Rivers, NSW with special attention to biogas as a liquid
A comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impacts from CSG drawing on an
improved, sound scientific base
CSG development may be a more commercially viable option in
areas of Australia where there is less environmental or social capital, thus
reducing the scale of trade-off and opportunity cost impacts that may
consequently increase overall extraction costs.
Furthermore the value of other industries and resources need
to be properly calculated and weighed against CSG development to ensure that the
best possible option and management for the region is being undertaken.
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