Despite a documented history of major environmental hazards, there have been few scientific studies which have fully addressed these issues. There many critical information gaps and future research is most needed if the risks of unconventional gas and fracking are to be fully assessed. In particular, the local risks from unconventional gas extraction are dependent on the underground hydrology and geology of the area. If there are unknown faultlines in the underground rock system surrounding drilling and fracking operations, there is a high risk of groundwater contamination from chemical and methane leakage, as well as a risk of earthquakes. However, these baseline studies are not conducted. Where scientific studies have been conducted to show evidence of water and soil contamination, such information has been ignored by Government regulatory bodies and by companies, such as in the case of documented contamination and spills in Pilliga State forest.
The attached PDF (below) provides a summary of the potential environmental impacts arising from unconventional gas extraction, and the state of knowledge and research relating to these risks.