The federal government has gained the ability to veto coal-seam gas developments in cases where water tables are at threat.

Environmental reforms were tabled before the Senate last night, resulting in the extended powers over water resources. More widespread powers proposed by the Greens were rebuffed however; the Green plan would have given the Government the ability to legislate on risks to national parks and increased controls on the burgeoning shale gas industry.

Reports today say the move away from the Greens’ plan has avoided a stoush between the government and resource companies. Farmers are in strong opposition to CSG fracking operations, due to the high likelihood of damage to vital water tables.

Similar powers have been proposed in the German parliament, over the potential pollution of traditional source of water for beer-brewing.