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Is WA fracked?

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Is WA fracked?

Fracking for oil and gas -CC0 License

Fracking for oil and gas -CC0 License

Fracking for oil and gas -CC0 License

Fracking for oil and gas -CC0 License

Connor Mallis, Reporter

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You may have seen the Anti-Fracking Movement set up around festivals or even outside parliament and wondered what the hell is it, and is it happening in WA? Well, WA law, as it stands permits fracking, but the current government is working on changing the law.

An anti-fracking movement has emerged internationally, with involvement of international environmental organizations and nation states, and domestically, here in Australia.

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ is the process of pumping water and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to fracture the sedimentary rocks, allowing oil and gas to emerge through the cracks.

The reason why environmentalists are concerned about the process is a US study found that the chemicals being pumped into the ground can be  toxic, and in some cases had found their way into underground water supplies, lakes and rivers.

Permits, scouting and testing for potential fracking sites in Western Australia are currently underway in the Kimberley, Gascoyne and Mid West.

Buru Energy is an oil and gas company named in an Act that was passed by the Barnett run state parliament in 2013.

The Act gave Buru (in collaboration with Mitsubishi) permission to, “evaluate, develop and exploit” natural gas in Canning Basin, which covers a huge swathe of the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields regions.

Getting gas out of there would mean fracking, because it is what they call ‘shale gas’.

However, the McGowan Government has plans to slash the Act. A Bill that will replace the Act if it passes parliament, was introduced to the Lower House on November 29, 2017.

First and second readings have occurred, but the Bill has not progressed any further. The Bill needs to pass three readings in both houses before it becomes law.

The third reading is expected to begin mid to late June 2018.

MLC from The Greens and Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple said: “Fracking simply does not make economic sense, it doesn’t stack up. A few corporations are intent on fracturing our land and our poisoning water in pursuit of profit, and our broken political system that allows corporations to donate to political parties is what allows it.”

He continued, “We have an abundance of solar, wind and wave energy opportunities in Australia, particularly in WA, and while there has been some investment, there has been nowhere near enough.

“To protect our environment and to stem the effects of climate change we must move towards a future with 100% renewable energy, which will create over 100,000 jobs in WA over the next decade, guaranteeing cheaper energy,” he said.

A 2016 report released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency showed 300 cases of water contamination in Pennsylvania due to fracking in the area.

There are over 1000 different types of chemicals in fracking fluid and the report estimated that 100 of them are estimated to be toxic to the environment.

The WA Government requires companies to disclose what chemicals they use, after an Act requiring disclosure was passed by Parliament in 2012.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority, which is responsible for approving fracking proposals, recognizes the risk in a fact sheet that makes claims about ensuring management.

The fact sheet outlined, “Minimizing the use of harmful chemicals and disclosure and management of the risks associated with chemicals used, together with adequate contingency plans, are important in this regard.

“Furthermore, proponents will need to ensure that the management, storage and disposal of wastewater from the fracturing activity is appropriate to manage risks, given the quantities involved and the potential toxicity of the materials.”

Frack Free WA, a local ‘Lock the Gate’ group of ambassadors, landowners and communities who are against fracking, said the risks are not worth it, and there are alternatives to fracking for fossil fuels. Such as, using solar, renewable and/or wind energy. In their opinion, all of these methods are healthier for the environment.

According to gas company Origin Energy, these alternatives only supply 14% of Australia’s electricity mix.

They said that gas is needed to help build and produce the infrastructure required to build wind turbines and solar panels.

Environmentalists argue that with more investment, renewables could provide more than the current 14% to energy users.

Fracking in the past and in other places has been shown to be quite dangerous, however from a business perceptive, demand for gas and oil remains  high and has potential to contribute to shareholders profits and royalties for the state.

 

For more information and updates on fracking in WA, click here.

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About the Writer
Connor Mallis, Reporter

Connor is a broadcasting journalist who has a keen eye for the truth. With a drive to share legitimate news across all media platforms. Connor enjoys problem-solving...

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Is WA fracked?