“Today, we are releasing the final implementation report into the scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracking,” she said.
“In 2018, the scientific inquiry, chaired by Justice Rachel Pepper and independently concluded its final report that industry risks could be managed if all of the inquiry’s 135 recommendations were implemented.
“Over the past four years, the territory government has been working to implement these recommendations by undertaking comprehensive baseline studies and developing multiple assurances for the regulation and monitoring of an onshore gas industry.”
Fyles and Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said allowing the development of the fossil fuel projects would help the territory transition into renewables, however that claim was rubbished by environmental groups.
“The Northern Territory government must have missed the part where the world’s scientists said any new gas or coal would blow our chances of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. Loudly and repeatedly,” Climate Council head of advocacy Dr Jennifer Rayner said.
“The argument that gas is ‘cleaner’ than coal is outrageous. Make no mistake that gas is a polluting fossil fuel that is driving climate change and subsequent climate disasters.”
The announcement follows the release of an open letter signed by around 100 scientists and experts calling for the Northern Territory government to ban fracking due to its “disastrous” climate risks.
The letter claims that the government hasn’t met one of the recommendations of the 2018 review.
“In 2018 it committed to implement all the recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (Fracking Inquiry), including: That the NT and Australian governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase in the life cycle GHG emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT. [Recommendation 9.8],” the letter says.
“The Northern Territory Government has failed to keep its commitment.
“Allowing large-scale gas production in the Beetaloo Basin could add 89 million tonnes of emissions to our atmosphere annually, equivalent to four times the current emissions of the Northern Territory and 18 per cent of Australian emissions which is unacceptable.”
Fyles, however, disagreed with the letter, saying the government had “absolutely met the recommendation”.
She also said First Nations people would be able to veto gas projects.
“All applications made for gas production, subject to the industry’s successful exploration and appraisal results, will go through this rigorous approval and monitoring process,” she said.
“I want to make it clear, traditional owners, Aboriginal Territorians have the power to veto a project.”