Letter to Federal Ministers re Beetaloo

Last week the Sydney Knitting Nannas wrote a letter to federal government Ministers, Chris Bowen and Tanya Plibersek, regarding the Northern Territory government’s approval of fracking the Beetaloo. Copies were sent to NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Marion Scrymgour MP for Lingiari NT.

Dear Ministers Bowen and Plibersek, 

Sydney Knitting Nannas were shocked to read last week of the NT government’s decision to green-light fracking in the Beetaloo basin. We are an environmental group and our main focus is on climate action and the need to switch from fossil fuels to renewables.

We agreed to write to you about our concerns about the NT government decision and to ask you to take action. The first of our concerns is that the decision puts Australia’s climate commitments at great risk.

The message from scientists, the International Energy Agency and the IPCC is clear – we cannot afford to have new coal or gas mined if we are to have a hope of achieving the 1.5C goal that should avert the worst impacts of climate change. But the emissions from fracking the Beetaloo could represent one-quarter of Australia’s total carbon budget under the 1.5C goal! *

The (then) Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy recognised that these emissions may be difficult to offset and could impact our ability to meet our Paris commitments.

The risk that fracking the Beetaloo poses to our climate future – and to the legislated requirement to reduce emissions under our Climate Change Act – is too great.

We urge you to place a moratorium on any further development of gas extraction until the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is reformed to protect the climate and the environment. In particular the water trigger requirements must cover shale and tight gas mining . 

A moratorium is also needed so that Tamboran’s announced intention** to use up to four H&P super spec FlexRigs can be independently investigated in view of the potential for greater environmental damage than rigs available at the time of the 2018 Pepper Inquiry. As the company says these machines drastically change the extraction of shale gas.

In closing we ask that you respond positively to the long campaign by Traditional Owners to protect Country and climate through actions to block fracking in the Beetaloo. 

 We would appreciate a response from you to the issues we have raised.

Yours sincerely,
Sydney Knitting Nannas & Friends

* “could represent 10 to 27 per cent of Australia’s total carbon budget” within the 1.5C goal.
(RepuTex analysis, 2021)

** Mr Joel Riddle, Tamboran CEO to the ASX: “Once operational, this onshore drilling rig will be the most powerful rig in Australia, capable of drilling more than 3,000-metre horizontal sections within the Mid Velkerri ‘B Shale’ in the higher quality, deeper shale formations of the Beetaloo.” 

MP Marion Scrymgour calls for hold on Beetaloo Basin approvals over fracking risks ABC News

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