Fracking review critiqued
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.