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Federal Government plans for WA shale oil “boom” would be a fracking disaster

Plans for a new federally funded round of shale oil exploration in northern WA could see a massive expansion of fracking across the state and demonstrates how both the federal and state governments are ignoring the climate crisis. 

The Morrison Government plans to use $5 million of taxpayer funds to explore for new unconventional shale oil and gas fracking resources in the north of WA, in partnership with the State Government. 

“This ignores the climate crisis and shows Premier Mark McGowan has broken his promise about restricting fracking,” said Jane Hammond, a spokesperson for Lock the Gate in WA.

“Fracking will be required to access the shale oil and gas. 

“Opening the West Canning basin to fracking would contradict Mr McGowan’s earlier claims that fracking would be restricted to existing petroleum leases.

Ms Hammond said comparisons made in the media to the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in the USA were appalling.

“West Australians do not want northern WA turned into a fracked wasteland like what we have seen happen in the USA,” she said.

“If this area is opened to fracking, we will see a proliferation of licences, in direct contradiction to Premier McGowan’s claims fracking would be limited to 5 million hectares.

Ms Hammond said it made no sense to open a new giant fracking oil fields in the state at a time when the world was moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

“Matt Canavan has yet again demonstrated that he is a fossil-fuel addicted dinosaur, and is totally out of step with public opinion and economic reality,” she said.

“Mr Canavan has claimed this shale boom will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs. We would like to see the evidence for these pie in the sky figures. They seem to be based on nothing but wishful thinking on behalf of the Minister.

“Opening new fossil fuel basins now could result in WA taxpayers being left with stranded assets in years to come.

“The distances involved to get this oil to market would be huge, and raise the very real prospect of an environmentally destructive project that never turns an actual profit.

“Already we have plans by fracking company Theia Energy to flare off its first few years of shale gas in the Great Sandy Desert in the Kimberley while it targets the associated shale oil.

“We have the technology to move away from fracking gasfields and are seeing major plans for clean energy production in northern WA, including massive new solar and wind farm driven clean hydrogen projects. In a decarbonised future these are the sorts of developments that will economically power our state. We simply don’t need new fracking oil or gasfields.

“We absolutely cannot afford to sacrifice our state to massive, environmentally destructive, and economically dubious new oil and gas fracking projects.”

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