Hundreds of concerned Western Australians have called on the state’s Environmental Protection Authority to publicly and transparently assess the massive 97,000 hectare 3D seismic testing plan for the Mid West.
The surveys, which are looking for gas, would stretch across the shires of Irwin, Three Springs, Mingenew, and Carnamah.
Up to 1000 hectares of vegetation would also be cleared just for the seismic trucks to pass through.
Irwin farmer Rod Copeland said locals were concerned in regards to the impacts of the seismic testing on farm biosecurity and the spreading of dieback, but also about the data being able to facilitate fracking across the area.
“Neither Beach Energy, nor the other companies like Strike, have ruled out fracking in this area,” he said.
“We know there are shale and tight gas reserves here.
“Through a Public Environmental Review, the public can learn more about the nature of the resources the company is targeting, as well as the direct impacts of the clearing and thumper trucks.”
Lock the Gate Alliance WA spokesperson Simone van Hattem said there was a high level of public concern throughout the region and the state about the seismic testing, due to the risk it could lead to fracking.
“Many communities in and around the northern Perth Basin have declared themselves fracking gasfield free.
“The data that will be acquired through this survey will facilitate drilling of gas wells. Whether they are conventional or unconventional fracking gasfields remains to be seen.”
Ms van Hattem said people were clearly concerned about the impact the seismic testing would have.
“Seismic surveys are by their very nature highly intrusive, requiring access to large areas of land,” she said.
“Due to the size and nature of this project, it could have impacts on farmland, a caravan park, wildflower tourism, and Aboriginal significant sites in the area. Impacts around the world from seismic testing have included structural damage to buildings, boreholes, pipes and septic tanks, which doesn’t include the impacts from vegetation clearing.
“If the EPA has nothing to hide, it should simply make this a public process so the community can have access to full information.”