Farmers should oppose fracking | The Jackal

6 Dec 2012

Farmers should oppose fracking

Today, Stuff reported:

A Taranaki farming couple are "shellshocked" after 120 of their cows dropped dead one by one in their paddock.

Around 20 vets who rushed to the Oeo farm of Chris and Catherine Cook on Tuesday could not save the animals, part of a herd of 600.

Mrs Cook's brother, John Murphy, speaking for the family, said the loss of the cows was a devastating blow.

"The farmer was out there topping up the water troughs and minutes later the cows were falling to the ground," he said.

Although there are a number of possible explanations for the deaths of the 120 cows, there's one that's obvious because of its absence from the article... The water and or land were contaminated by fracking. The questions that should really be asked is was there land farming occurring and where did the farmer get the water from?

The potential for fracking to pollute pasture and water supplies in Taranaki isn't just speculation... Documented evidence shows that blow-down pits at the Kapuni site had polluted the groundwater which was no longer fit for human or stock consumption. The BETX (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes) contaminated water also didn't meet the criteria for irrigation, meaning it was highly toxic.

Of course Shell Todd Oil Services, which owns Kapuni, and the complicit regional council say there's no link with the fracking that's occurred in the area and the groundwater contamination, however BETX has been regularly used in fracking around Taranaki and there's no other reasonable explanation for it to be found in the groundwater other than unsafe storage of well fluids in fracking blow-down pits.

The problem here is that the oil and gas industry and the complicit Taranaki regional council are being secretive about the amount of pollution that has occurred and is still occurring in Taranaki because of fracking. They certainly won't be telling farmers when and where their water supplies have become contaminated with highly toxic chemicals that can kill their herds and impact on their livelihoods.

He said the cows were worth around $400,000, and their deaths would probably mean around another $300,000 loss of profit for the season.

"Cows are just so important and so close to farmers. It's like losing a loved one. In this case it's like losing multiple loved ones," Mr Murphy said.

That's why farmers should be against fracking... There's very little benefit compared to the potential adverse impact on our most profitable industry.

This cow died after drinking frack-contaminated water.