South West councils have welcomed the McGowan government’s fracking ban, but activists say communities must have a say in the upcoming inquiry.
The state’s recent ban and moratorium stops companies from using fracking for both existing and future exploration and production in the South West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions.
Member for Bunbury Don Punch welcomed the ban on fracking in the South West.
Member for Mandurah David Templeman also said the announcement was great for the Peel region.
“This ban will keep the Peel region protected until an independent scientific inquiry is performed to help determine WA’s future in fracking,” Mr Templeman said.
Mr Punch said the South West was known for its natural beauty and resources, and was quite densely populated with urban centres.
“None of these things would be considered compatible with fracking,” he said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the State Government appreciated the level of community concern around fracking in WA, which is why the scientific study was commissioned.
“The McGowan Government recognised the need to protect the State’s environment from risk associated with extracting petroleum products using fracking,” said Mr Dawson
Fracking has been strongly opposed in Western Australia. Last month more than 200 people attended a rally against the practice at the State ALP conference in Burswood.
Frack Free Future community engagement leader Monica Fitz said she thought the rally on August 26 showed the delegates and politicians present there were many of activists and communities against fracking.
Ms Fitz said the next step for the government was to ensure that the inquiry was an inclusive one, allowing communities that are involved to have their say.
She said the main environmental risk posed by the fracking process was water pollution, but it also negatively impacted climate change and agriculture, and subsequently the livelihood of many regional farmers.
She said fracking emitted more of the greenhouse gas methane than coal production.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the ban would have a “major impact” on unconventional oil and gas.
“It is highly unlikely these resources can be developed without fracking,” he said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said on his Facebook page that the state-wide moratorium would stay in place until the inquiry was complete.
|What is fracking?
“Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
The process can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer and can create new pathways to release gas or can be used to extend existing channels.
The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture.”
– via. BBC