Frack­ing re­view cri­tiqued

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

Op­po­nents of the process of re­leas­ing gas from the earth by frack­ing have said the scope of the WA frack­ing in­quiry is too lim­ited af­ter a back­ground and is­sues pa­per was re­leased by the in­quiry panel on Novem­ber 3.

The sci­en­tific in­quiry was an­nounced in Septem­ber with a ban on frack­ing in the South West, Peel and Perth metropoli­tan re­gions and a mora­to­rium placed on the rest of WA.

Lock the Gate WA spokes­woman Jane Ham­mond said it ap­peared the in­quiry wouldn’t look at all the is­sues re­lat­ing to the in­dus­try.

“We would like the in­quiry to ex­am­ine all the im­pacts of the on­shore un­con­ven­tional gas in­dus­try, not just frack­sug­gested ing,” Ms Ham­mond said.

Sci­en­tific panel chair­man Dr Tom Hat­ton said the in­quiry was not purely lim­ited to the process of frack­ing.

“It also in­cludes all pro­cesses that go with frack­ing, such as well con­struc­tion, clear­ing, ac­cess and trans­port,” Dr Hat­ton said.

White­bark En­ergy is a joint ven­ture part­ner of the Warro gas project 60km east of Jurien Bay, with the com­pany’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Stephen Keeni­han say­ing the panel was well qual­i­fied to carry out the in­quiry.

“The scope is cer­tainly broad and cov­ers all im­pacts of frack­ing and as­so­ci­ated ac­tiv­i­ties over the full life cy­cle of a project,” he said.

“We are con­cerned how­ever that the in­quiry will ex­ceed its time­frame and we see no end point for the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider the ad­vice that will be given.”

Mr Keeni­han said the oil and gas in­dus­try in WA was highly reg­u­lated and ev­ery­thing re­quired gov­ern­ment ap­proval so the in­quiry was un­nec­es­sary.

Fur­ther con­cerns from an­tifrack­ing com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als is that some re­gions are be­ing over­looked by the in­quiry.

Ms Ham­mond said the in­quiry should hold pub­lic hear­ings in all re­gions im­pacted by the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing the South West and Gas­coyne.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son said the in­quiry would hold pub­lic meet­ings in Perth, Ger­ald­ton and Broome.

Dan­dara­gan beef farmer David Cook said the in­quiry should spend more time in ar­eas on the front­line of the frack­ing bat­tle.

“In the Mid West we have gas com­pa­nies want­ing to frack on our doorstep,” Mr Cook said.

“Yet we only have a sin­gle day to meet and ad­dress the frack­ing in­quiry in Perth or Ger­ald­ton.”

Dr Hat­ton said the dates, time and lo­ca­tions of the pub­lic meet­ings were yet to be de­ter­mined and it wasn’t the only way the pub­lic could be heard.

“The pub­lic meet­ings are just one method for the pub­lic to be heard, they can also pro­vide a sub­mis­sion through the web­site, email or by let­ter. The panel will call for pub­lic sub­mis­sions from Novem­ber 27 to March 19 next year,” he said.

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