Green group celebrates frack-free farms
Environmental activists are celebrating a Western Australian Government rejection of hydraulic fracking on a large section of agricultural land.
Chinese company Bunbury Energy (formerly known as Unconventional Resources) is seeking a permit to mine oil and gas in an area between Bunbury, Capel and Donnybrook, in the state’s south west.
WA Mines Minister Bill Marmion had said that fracking was possible when the permit for exploration in the region (which includes a large dairy, beef and fruit industry) was granted back in July.
But now, executive director of the DMP’s petroleum division Jeff Haworth says it will not happen.
He said geological surveys of the area revealed it was not suitable for hydraulic fracking.
In fact, the studies showed the geology actually inhibited that method of gas extraction.
“Calling themselves Unconventional Resources was an unfortunate name, but certainly they had no intentions of looking at hydraulic fracturing because, as I say, the geology is not conducive to do that,” Mr Haworth told reporters.
“Bunbury Energy is actually looking for conventional gas resources, they never had any intentions to do hydraulic fracturing.”
He said the company was still seeking native title approval before its exploration licence was secured.
“Part of that process is actually talking to the landowner and getting the landowner's agreement to access their land and their property,” he said.
“We are telling ... the company they should be talking to local shires anyway, to let them know what their program is and what their intentions are.”
Still, No Fracking in Southwest WA campaign group spokesperson Carly Stone says strong community backlash influenced the decision not to frack.
“We are pleased that they've changed their tune on fracking in light of strong community opposition, but we still hold the same position on the entire issue,” she told the ABC.
“The whole proposal is not transparent at all, we don't know what is going to happen.
“We don't think there should be a licence to develop fossil fuels in an environmentally sensitive region that's already quite densely populated.
“Our region is a biodiversity hotspot for tourism, agriculture and renewable energy.
“The development of fossil fuels is not supported here by anybody.”