WA confirms fracking ban
THE WA Labor Government has declared a state-wide moratorium on fracking and banned the practice in the South West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions.
The McGowan Government said it was delivering on its election promise to conduct a public inquiry into the use of fracking to extract natural gas.
“The State Government’s decision will prohibit companies from using fracking during exploration or production,” Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) acting executive director Petroleum Denis Wills said.
A committee was being established to conduct an independent scientific inquiry into fracking and will be chaired by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chair Dr Tom Hatton.
“The scientific inquiry will use credible scientific and historical evidence to assess each level of risk associated with fracking and outline regulatory mechanisms to identify and minimise potential risks to the environment, health, agriculture, heritage and the community,” Mr Wills said.
The moratorium is expected to last up to 12 months, and will stop companies such as Buru Energy and Mitsubishi from exploring for onshore gas in the State.
“The McGowan Government recognises the need to protect the State's environment from risks associated with extracting petroleum products using fracking,” WA Environment minister Stephen Dawson said.
However, APPEA WA chief operating officer Stedman Ellis said an inquiry by the WA Legislative Council’s Environment and Public Affairs Committee had already found that fracking posed negligible risk.
“The Environment and Public Affairs Committee considered all of the evidence and listened to all sides of the debate before unanimously concluding after a two-year inquiry that any concerns about fracking can be addressed through regulation and ongoing monitoring,” Mr Ellis said.
“The committee’s findings echoed those of more than a dozen other inquiries in Australia and countless independent reviews and studies which all confirmed that fracking is safe.
“The Health Department says fracking can be done without compromising drinking water and Australia’s Chief Scientist says the evidence shows it’s ‘completely safe’.
“This is not a new technology. According to the Department of Mines and Petroleum, more than 600 wells have been fracked in WA in the past 55 years with no evidence of environmental harm.
“WA does not need another fracking inquiry. What it desperately needs is new jobs, investment and royalties to help repair the state budget.”
Fracking has been banned in large chunks of WA’s south west region.