Chemical cocktails were on the menu today when nearly 100 West Australians came out for a ‘fracktail’ party in opposition to the dangerous, unconventional gas fracking industry setting up shop in WA. The event was part of dozens taking place all over Australia as part of a National Day of Action Against Unconventional Gas Fracking, called by Lock the Gate Alliance.
Onshore gas fracking has created a storm of controversy on the East coast, where dozens of groups have emerged to oppose coal seam gas fracking in their communities. Now the fracking frenzy is spreading to WA, where the Perth Basin alone is estimated to hold around 71 trillion cubic feet of frackable gas.
Conservation Council of WA fracking spokesperson Jamie Hanson said, “The fracking process requires pumping a toxic cocktail of chemicals at high pressure, deep underground and often directly through layers of groundwater. Because unconventional gas is so hard to extract, a field needs thousands of wells before it becomes profitable.
“To put that in perspective, the Barnett Basin field in Texas, which is very similar to the type of gas we have in WA, is only a little more than half as big as the Perth Basin field. But just a decade after its discovery, the Barnett field is covered in more than 10,000 wells.
“In ten years time we could see tens of thousands of gas wells pumping toxic chemicals straight through aquifers in the Perth Basin. The risks to our water supplies are huge.”
Mr Hanson recently returned from a trip to the Mid West and Wheatbelt, where most fracking activity in WA is currently concentrated.
Mr Hanson said, “Speaking to farmers, one of the things that worries them the most is that in WA they have no legal right to refuse access to fracking companies. The law says they have to be compensated, but if a farmer decides the risk to his water supplies, property price and livelihood is too great, there’s nothing he can do. ‘Locking the gate’ just isn’t possible in WA
“To rub salt on the wound, it turns out regional communities are being forced to pay for fracking companies to come into town and force access to their land. Nearly $27 million in Royalties for Regions money meant to help local communities has instead been siphoned into support for “innovative” drilling in greenfield areas of the state – places where no drilling has happened before. That all goes to insure profitable metropolitan-based mining companies against financial loss. Is that a good way to spend money that could be spent on services for neglected regional communities?
“CCWA supports a moratorium on all gas fracking activity in WA subject to a thorough Environmental Protection Agency enquiry into the cumulative impacts the process would have on our state. It’s the only way we can be sure that we’re not opening the door to a disaster”
For further comment and photographs:
Jamie Hanson, 0449 971 229
John McCarten, 0403 900 193