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An overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
by Elfian Schieren, 2012

Contents
1. Introduction
2. Energy and coal seam gas development
2.1 Economic viability underpinning coal seam gas development
2.2 Renewable, sustainable energy development
- Solar
- Wind
- Biogas
2.3 Coal seam gas development at a global scale
2.4 Coal seam gas development in Australia
3 Coal seam gas extraction process
- Drilling and dewatering
- Hydraulic Fracturing
- Produced Water
4 Risks to water resources from coal seam gas development
4.4 Ground water use
4.5 Water produced by coal seam gas
4.6 Contamination of Groundwater
5 Other Consequences of coal seam gas development
5.4 Impacts to agricultural production
5.5 Health impacts on humans and animals
5.6 Impacts on greenhouse gas emissions
5.7 Impacts on seismic activity
5.8 Economic impacts
5.9 Cumulative impacts
6 Potential for coal seam gas development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
6.1 Northern Rivers Region
6.2 Using trade-offs and opportunity costs in evaluating CSG development
6.3 Prospects for development in Northern Rivers region
6.4 Energy development in Northern Rivers region
6.5 Northern Rivers community actions and groups in response to CSG development
7 Discussion
8 Conclusion
9 References

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Coal Seam Gas


Gloucester | Pilliga | Camden | Northern Rivers | Wollongong

An overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales

Integrated Project by Elfian Schieren, 2012

Conclusion

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 management strategies.

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 produced water

 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 renewable resources

 Assessment of the economic viability of renewable energy development in Northern Rivers, NSW with special attention to biogas as a liquid fuel export

 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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