No certainty fracking won’t harm underground water

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Gingin residents are among those who have concerns about what fracking could do to underground water supplies.

NEWS a respected water expert is not certain hydraulic fracking poses no threat to underground water supplies means Yanchep and Gingin landowners are right to have concerns, according to Lock the Gate.

WA Lock the Gate spokeswoman Jane Hammond said news GHD executive Blair Shackleton told the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA annual business lunch on Friday, April 20 that while he thought fracking could be safe, he did not believe current technology and regulation could guarantee water supplies would remain unpolluted confirmed regulations were not up to scratch and really could not be.

Ms Hammond said the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking showed there could be all the regulations you like on fracking but there was no evidence it could be carried out safely.

Mr Shackleton’s comments were reported in the West Business in The West Australian April 21-22.

The story Water key to future of resources said Mr Shackleton, who is WA market leader among engineering and environmental consultants was commenting while on a panel featuring former Woodside executive Rob Cole and economist Andrew Charlton.

“The availability of water was a key theme in the 2018-2028 Western Australian Resources Sector Outlook, which was released yesterday,’’ the story said.

“The report noted that WA’s resources industry would need 773 gigalites – 50 per cent more than Sydney harbor holds – each year by 2024.”

When Mr Shackleton was appointed as water market leader in 2014 a Sustainability Matters post said he was a chartered chemist with more than 33 years’ experience in the water and power industries, including plant design, process monitoring, troubleshooting, operations support and project management roles.

“He has led the design of municipal potable supplies, industrial and power station water systems and large desalination plants,’’ the post said.

On Friday, Lock the Gate said it was alarmed at the appointment of a director of the pro-fracking Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association to a senior position as a strategic adviser on WA Premier Mark McGowan’s staff.

Ms Hammond said the appointment came amid growing public concern over the risks of fracking to land, water and health and as the government prepared to decide whether to give fracking the green light.

“Premier Mark McGowan has chosen to appoint a senior APPEA external affairs and media director to advise him on strategy in the run up to his decision on whether or not to ban fracking in our state,” she said.

“Just this week Mr Murphy was listed as the contact for APPEA as it extolled the virtues of the Northern Territory’s greenlight to fracking in a media release that urged the WA Government and other states to lift their fracking moratoria.

“We have a fracking inquiry that is only just starting to digest the reams of scientific evidence presented to it by concerned scientists, community members and physicians and yet the Premier appoints the head of APPEA’s PR department to advise him.

“That at the very least, creates a perception that there may be a conflict of interest.

“The WA Fracking Inquiry received more than 10,000 public submissions with the majority opposing fracking and many calling for a permanent ban on the practice.’’