Anti-fracking demonstrators determined to save Western Australia’s Kimberley region from being transformed into a frack-pocked wasteland have rallied outside the Perth offices of environmental vandals Black Mountain Energy during the company’s AGM today.
Black Mountain has a history of breaching environmental law in its native Texas, including failing to dispose of fracking waste correctly, and demonstrators say the company must not be allowed to put WA and the Kimberley at risk (Rap sheet available here, source, Railroad Commission of Texas).
The company’s AGM comes after Black Mountain successfully applied to dramatically increase the impact of its planned 20-well “Valhalla” fracking operation. In addition, the project appears to be seeking production by stealth, by proposing to allow condensate from the project to be sold under an exploration permit.
The amendments now mean that if ultimately approved, the project would:
- Increase its total water use by 150% per well to a total of 2 billion litres of water
- Increasing the number of fracks from 50 to 70 per well
- Increasing clearing of native vegetation
Despite this, the amendments to the Valhalla project were classed as “minor” by the McGowan Government.
The report released by the EPA indicates that this exploratory project alone will release 1.5Mt of CO2e, equivalent to about 1.6% of all annual emissions in WA. The carbon price in Australia is currently $36 a tonne, so this would equal $54 million in carbon credits. This also highlights how starkly incompatible any full blown fracking production project will be with a safe climate.
“Black Mountain’s pilot project would have a devastating impact on the Kimberley’s water, landscape and the climate,” said Lock the Gate Alliance WA coordinator Claire McKinnon.
“What’s really worrying is this is just the beginning. If Black Mountain gets its way, it will expand from 20 frack wells to many thousands with a network of pipelines, wastewater ponds and access roads that will lay waste to the Kimberley’s fragile and unique environment.
“The massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions from just 20 fracking wells clearly shows how starkly incompatible any full blown fracking production project will be with a safe climate.
“We can’t let environmental vandal Black Mountain, or the McGowan Government get away with this. Western Australia’s special places like the Kimberley must be protected from climate-wrecking, greedy oil and gas companies.”