Plans by multinational gas company Black Mountain Energy to frack the iconic and beautiful Kimberley will put the region’s lucrative tourism industry, its unique environment, and locals’ way of life in danger.
The announcement by the company also comes on the same day serious doubt has been cast over the safety of fracking.
The Australia Institute has analysed a report by gas-company-funded Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), released earlier this year, which led to erroneous claims that fracking was safe, based on an assessment of just 6 CSG wells. The analysis also revealed gas companies Santos and APLNG (led by Origin) paid 75 percent of the $2.26 million research budget.
US EPA studies of the impacts of fracking for shale gas, like what is proposed in the Kimberley, also show evidence that water contamination has occurred due to the drilling and fracking activities.
Kimberley Frack Free Coordinator Shaun Clark said the Kimberley’s water and communities should not be put at risk when so many questions remained over the safety of fracking.
“Around the world and in Australia, we have seen this dangerous and destructive industry implicated in multiple water and environmental contamination events,” he said.
“What’s more, the Western Australian Government has not even finalised a process to increase Heritage Protection of the incredible Kimberley region, which would potentially increase the amount of land where fracking cannot occur.
“The new Code of Practice laws to oversee Hydraulic Fracturing activities in WA are not yet completed. It is inappropriate for this multinational company to push ahead with fracking at this time.”
The Government specifically states: "Proponents will not be permitted to commence hydraulic fracturing exploration until the WA Code of Practice has been developed”.
Lock the Gate Alliance WA spokesperson Simone van Hattem said the west-east pipeline mooted by Black Mountain Energy was likely to be economically unviable.
“This pipeline is an expensive idea that has been roundly criticised, including by gas industry figures and analysts.
“This company clearly wants to push their fracking agenda regardless of economic and legal realities, and WA politicians and locals should be extremely wary.
“All across this state, communities at risk of fracking have been loudly and proudly declaring themselves ‘gasfield free’. This company will have a serious fight on its hands if it truly proceeds with plans to frack this iconic part of Australia.”