Inhabitat reported that the Australian state of Victoria is taking a huge step after they announced they would protect local farmers by banning any onshore unconventional gas, including fracking. Calls from local farmers helped push the government to make the historical ban. Victoria is the first Australian state to ban this kind of gas exploration and development.
A 2015 parliamentary inquiry into onshore unconventional gas in Victoria obtained 1,600 submissions. They found that most respondents were against fracking, fearing that particles from fracking endangered the agriculture sector, environment and public health in Victoria. Julie Boulton, a dairy farmer told The Guardian that it has been heart-wrenching at times, especially when they thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing they could do. She added that the community bound together and decided to fight this threat to their farmland, their water and their health.
There’s about 190,000 people working in the Victorian agriculture sector. Even though the gas industry had claimed that there were economic benefits to fracking, The Australia Institute has countered the claims. They found that when gas jobs were created, 18 jobs in agriculture were lost and many farmers felt that fracking would threaten and eventually destroy Victoria’s reputation for clean and green food.
According to Mark Ogge, principal adviser of The Australia Institute, any benefits have nearly gone to overseas owners of worldwide gas and oil companies. He also said that the ban is a sound economic and energy policy.
A permanent legislative ban will be presented in Parliament, but a current moratorium will make sure unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t happen for now. The ban includes any exploration and development of Victoria unconventional gas, from coal seam gas to fracking. This ban does not cover offshore gas exploration.
Featured Image Credit: Simon Fraser University