Call for Gingin to say no to fracking

Guilderton and Woodridge and Sovereign Hill residents are keen to point out they are against fracking not conventional gas.

GINGIN ratepayers have asked their council to adopt a ‘no fracking’ policy but the shire’s previous responses to the issue won’t give them much hope of achieving that outcome.

At the council’s annual elector’s meeting on Tuesday, February 19
Jenny Walker of Woodridge put forward a motion that the council have a policy to not support unconventional gas fracking within the Shire of Gingin.

Jill Brown of Woodridge seconded the motion which was supported 43-2.

But the shire’s chief executive office Aaron Cook said fracking had been raised at the annual electors meeting on December 22, 2016 and at its May 17, 2017 meeting the council had voted unanimously to not adopt a position on fracking as it had no control over fracking, which was governed by the state government through the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

A Woodridge resident and landholder for 35 years Jenny Walker is concerned that the McGowan Government’s lifting of the fracking ban north of Perth could lead to fracking gasfields in the region as fracking companies were exploring in the area.

“If they find unconventional tight gas, they will need to frack it and those type of gasfields spread out, industrialising rural areas,” she said.
“We are concerned about the risk to our groundwater, land, air and health of community members.

“We don’t see why it’s not banned here, when it’s banned in the cities of Wanneroo and Swan.

“The geology and impacts would not change at the shire boundaries.”
Jill Brown supported the motion due to the risk fracking could pose to the underground and surface water.

“The fracking inquiry recently uncovered that there have already been 21 reportable spills and major incidents in the five years up to November 2017,’’ she said.

“That’s despite just 12 wells being fracked for exploration purposes in WA so far.

“Imagine what would happen if we get to production stage unconventional gasfields, which spread across the landscape with hundreds or thousands of fracked wells, as seen in other states and countries.”
“We urge our councillors to support this motion at their council meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

“We want them to do everything they can to stop fracking here, including lobbying the McGowan Government for a no-go zone to protect our region from fracking.”

Swan-Mid West-Gascoyne coordinator  Simone van Hattem from  Lock the Gate Alliance and Frack Free WA said the Shire of Gingin had several gas exploration permits in its borders, covering farming and tourism areas, the town of Gingin and a national park.
Ms van Hattem said the permits were held by Mineral Resources (who recently took over Empire Oil and Gas) and Macallum Group Ltd.

She said both companies had plans for various exploration activities in coming years and it was likely they would need to frack as there was unconventional tight gas in the region.

The 2018 Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation in Western Australia said one of the significant findings of the inquiry with respect to the potential impacts of onshore oil and gas development, based on hydraulic fracture stimulation was that the risk to water resources through below-ground pathways for contaminants was generally low, with the greater risk arising from surface spills of chemicals or wastewater.

“While this latter risk was also deemed to be low, the inquiry concluded that given the value of potable water resources in the prospective regions, a degree of precaution was justified,’’ the report said.

“The report makes a number of recommendations regarding the assessment and use of chemicals, monitoring of groundwater and wastewater, ecotoxicity testing and a minimum separation distance of 2000m between stimulated oil and gas wells and bores used for public drinking water sources.’’