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Farmers hail Cabinet's fracking moratorium

Staff Reporter

Agri SA has welcomed the government's decision to place a moratorium on licences for shale gas development through hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo.

Agri South Africa president Johannes Möller has welcomed Cabinet’s endorsement of the mineral resources department’s decision to place a moratorium on licences to undertake shale gas development in the Karoo by way of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”.

“The particular Cabinet decision follows Agri SA’s letter to Minister [Susan] Shabangu on 24 March requesting a moratorium on shale gas mining where fracking is proposed, pending the findings of a United States inquiry currently conducted by their Environmental Protection Agency (Usepa) and aimed specifically at fracking,” he said.

Agriculture in the Karoo could not afford to be exposed to uncertain shale gas development processes which could affect the economic survival and quality of life of rural communities.

‘The availability and quality of subterranean water resources represent the life-artery of the area,” Möller said.

He also expressed the hope that government would deal similarly with other areas in South Africa where shale gas development using this method was planned.

‘We would like to be included in the multidisciplinary team led by the department of mineral resources, which will undertake research into the implications of fracking.

“Agri SA appreciates Cabinet’s commitment to a clean environment whereby ecological aspects will not be compromised,” Möller said.—Sapa

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