Published by The Border Watch
CALL TO ACTION: Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell (far left) joins a coalition of groups from across the state on the steps of Parliament House calling for a ban on new fossil fuel projects in South Australia.
MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell said he was committed to presenting a letter prepared by Fossil Free SA and supporters to relevant parties after action was held on the steps of Parliament House on Friday.
The letter called for a ban on new fossil fuel projects in South Australia, which comes after the State Government invited new applications for oil and gas licences earlier this year including the Otway Basin in the South East.
Bidding is open for three new petroleum exploration licences in the Limestone Coast and will close on November 29.
“We, the undersigned, ask you to revoke the May 2019 release of oil and gas exploration areas in the Cooper, Eromanga and Otway Basins and to ban all further fossil fuel exploration and all new fossil fuel extraction projects (those not yet approved)
in South Australia,” the letter says.
“Climate impacts are already killing people and destroying ecosystems and inviting new fossil fuel exploration and extraction will lead to yet more climate damage.
“The easiest and least disruptive step towards phasing out fossil fuel use is to stop new fossil fuel exploration and extraction before it starts.”
Mr Bell, who attended the action last week, said it was his duty to represent all members of the community.
“I committed to presenting this petition to Premier Steven Marshall, Minister for Environment David Speirs and Minister for Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, who did not attend on Friday,” he said.
“Whilst I did not sign this letter, I do support a long-term move away from fossil fuels and believe this will best be achieved with all tiers of government working together.
“I believe our state needs to transition towards more renewable sources of energy, which will have less environmental impact.
“However, I also believe this transition needs to be planned and predictable and must include base load power to ensure continuity of supply.”
Grant and Robe councils are among the signatories of the letter and join more than 30 conservation groups, businesses and industry groups opposing the new exploration acreage.
More than 30 groups from across the state signed the letter, with five hailing from the South East.
This included the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance, the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council, Community Action for Sustainability Mount Gambier and Robe and Wattle Range councils.
“The Upper House has declared a climate emergency, but any new gas or oil will mean more climate damage,” Fossil Free SA spokesperson Margaret Hender said.
“That means more bushfires, worse droughts and more severe heat waves as we head into summer.
“We welcome the Marshall Government’s focus on exporting renewable energy, but it is counterproductive to encourage more gas and oil projects at the same time.”