KEEN TO SHARE: Environmental expert Dr Marian Lloyd-Smith at the Knitting Nannas conference.
KEEN TO SHARE: Environmental expert Dr Marian Lloyd-Smith at the Knitting Nannas conference. Marc Stapelberg

Gas industry discussed at 'international' conference

ENVIRONMENTAL experts, authors and law professionals shared their knowledge on the Coal Seam Gas industry amid a sea of yellow at the first Knitting Nannas international conference held at the Lismore Workers club on Saturday.

High-profile speakers included Dr Marian Lloyd-Smith, an expert in chemical policy and waste management and senior advisor on the National Toxics Network.

Senior environmental specialist with the Queensland Department of Planning and Infrastructure turned CSG whistleblower Simone Marsh also addressed the audience as did activist, author and NSW Environmental Defenders Office principal solicitor Sue Higginson.

Dr Lloyd-Smith said there were major environmental and chemicals concerns associated with the CSG industry.

These include a "lack of information" about what chemicals are used in unconventional mining, the "lack of data" to support their safety and issues to do with how mining waste is managed.

"We have always said there should have been a full life-cycle analysis before anything went ahead," she said.

"Because you don't start an activity unless you know what you're going to do with your waste at the end and at the moment the industry cannot manage that waste."

Dr Lloyd-Smith said while the chemicals used for mining activities like CSG were dangerous, the naturally occurring chemicals that were released from the ground during mining were of equal concern.

"While they are natural and safe underground, they're not when they're released," she said.

"But drilling, earthworks, fracking releases these chemicals, including radioactive substances.

"While everyone focuses on water, air pollution is probably the thing that we're seeing the biggest impacts from."

When asked her opinion on the NSW Chief Scientist's report on CSG, Dr Lloyd-Smith said the report clearly stated the industry could only go ahead if they had the technological ability to deal with the chemicals, pollution, water and waste.

"But they don't have that technological ability to deal with the huge amount of waste water," she said.

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