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Concerns raised as NT lifts fracking moratorium

Green groups and academics have criticised the Northern Territory government’s lifting of a moratorium on fracking. 

The moratoriumon fracking was announced following a review by Justice Rachel Pepper, which found that risks could be reduced to “acceptable” levels if 135 recommendations were enacted, which the government has agreed to.

“We promised an independent, scientific inquiry after which we would either ban fracking or allow it in highly regulated circumstances in tightly prescribed areas,” chief minister Michael Gunner said.

“We have kept our promise. We have accepted the key finding of the report – that if all the recommendations are implemented the risk from fracking can be reduced to an acceptable level.”

Academics were critical of the announcement, particularly around potential greenhouse gas emissions.

“Fracking deserves to be controversial due to the fact it will increase greenhouse gas emissions and poses significant risks to be managed during the exploration and development phases,” RMIT University’s Associate Professor Gavin Muddsaid.

“Whilst the inquiry has acknowledged these risks, the NT government has not.”

A report by the Australia Institute said resuming fracking in the territory could increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific climate and energy campaigner Nikola Casule said the move was a “betrayal” of Mr Gunner’s “constituents and the people of Australia who want clean water, clean air and a healthy future for their communities”.

“Giving the green light to frack the Territory is grossly irresponsible and completely incompatible with Australia’s international commitments to reduce carbon pollution.”

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