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Letter to the editor – drilling at Penola

To whom it concerns,

Re unconventional gas drilling rig at Penola.

I am very concerned that Beach Energy is preparing to drill for unconventional gas just outside of Penola. We have only 4.6% of prime agricultural land in SA and a lot of this is in the SE. I am shocked that the State Government is letting a mining company drill for gas in our region of “Clean, Green water, food and wine.  Right next to the Penola township!   And this is not just one well, I understand another well is to be drilled north of Penola.  If gas is found, how many wells will be drilled – I have seen the photos of Tara in Queensland with the countryside dotted with well pads and connected by roads and pipelines.  I am very concerned that this scale of industrialisation, noise, light, dust and environmental pollution is destined for our Limestone Coast.  This is frightening.   The Limestone Coast is prime agricultural land and grows about 40% of our State’s food and our confined aquifer contains 30% of our State’s drinkable water.  What will happen if our Limestone Coast food and water is contaminated with gas and chemicals? What impact will this have on our health, on our children and our ability to farm and live in this region?  What is the State Government thinking to allow this to happen.  I think this shows a complete lack of concern for the people in the SE, yet again.  Ask Wattle Range Council, MP Mitch Williams and Minister Tom Koutsantonis to stop the gas drilling now on our prime agricultural land. 

With concern

Dr Catherine Pye   Mount Gambier

Editors Comment:

It was reported on the ABC today (Wed) that drilling at Penola has already begun and Robe Council will lobby the State Government to halt this drilling until further scientific research can be conducted.

Fracking is the process used by mixing sand, water and chemicals and forcing this mixture into wells to create cracks or fissures in the rock to allow gas or petroleum to be drawn to the surface.

Residents of Wattle Range and surrounding districts have expressed concern to this site that there could be possible contamination of the underground water supply in the South East caused by this process.

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