CSG applications should be assessed by regions: scientist

FULL region-based assessments of the potential impacts of coal seam gas mining should be undertaken before mines are approved, according to Dr John Williams from the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.

Dr Williams, who produced a paper outlining potential ways forward for coal seam gas and natural resource management, said the processes and impacts of coal seam gas extraction varied from region to region so applications should be assessed at a regional level. But that was not being done.

"We need a proper cumulative risk assessment to say where it is possible and where we shouldn't do it at all," he said.

"We've given approvals in a most unsystematic manner.  We give the approvals and then go in and do the evaluations - what impacts it can have on water resources, biodiversity and loss of food-producing land etc.

"It is a very complex and needs a proper, sensible approach. At the moment we have ad-hockery.

"It needs to be done in a proper way so you know the regional cumulative risk and considering what you are foregoing and what industries of the future you won't be able to have because you make this choice.

"We should hit the pause button and get some of the mechanisms in place to allow us to have proper regional assessment.

"You need to know what the risks are, and I think we are mature enough as a society to move in that direction."



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