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Concern as massive drill rig rolls into the Mid West in search of gas to frack

Work is underway on what could be WA’s first fracking gasfield, the Lock the Gate Alliance has warned.

A drilling exploration rig has been erected 50km south east of Dongara on unallocated crown land off Natta Road. It is exploring for tight gas as well as conventional gas and oil.

Mid West coordinator for Lock the Gate in WA Jarrad Thomas said there was growing community concern at the arrival of the drilling rig. He said Lock the Gate and the local group Farmers Against Fracking would be hosting a public meeting in Three Springs on June 25 to discuss concerns at the $15M drilling exploration program.

“The company Strike Energy have been careful to say that they are not fracking at this stage, but we know that one of their gas targets is tight gas and tight gas requires fracking to get it out of the ground,” Mr Thomas said.

“Right now, the company is not allowed to frack yet because the new regulations governing fracking in WA have not been released or legislated.

“Strike Energy’s works program, outlined on the Department of Mines website, includes a plan to spend an additional $5M in the next 12 months on “well stimulation,” a euphemism for fracking.

“Fracking is a dirty, polluting and unnecessary industry. We have so much gas in WA that the Premier has been busy trying to get industry to relocate to WA to use the gas, so we clearly don’t need onshore gasfields and in particular a brand-new fracking industry.”

A spokesperson for Farmers Against Fracking, Christine Smith, said locals were concerned at the arrival of rig and the lack of information about what was planned for the exploration program.

 “We would like to know just how big the gasfield might be, the impact of the company’s plans to flare the gas on site and how water resources, vital to the region, will be protected,” she said.

“So far we know from the company’s environmental plan for its initial drilling program that the near surface aquifer will be protected from contamination via what the company describes as “a clay filter cake”.  We are not convinced that is sufficient protection to prevent chemical contamination of our water supplies.

The public meeting will take place in the Three Springs Community Hall on Tuesday June 25 at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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