Woodridge and Caraban residents against fracking

Residents in Woodridge and Caraban are opposed to fracking in the Shire of Gingin.

WOODRIDGE and Caraban residents want their politicians to know they are opposed to fracking in the Shire of Gingin.

On Sunday, March 8 the two communities made a gasfield free declaration after a survey showed that was what a majority of their residents wanted.

Landholder Jenny Walker said the nearest gas licence to Woodridge was just 15km away and Woodridge itself was only 75km from the Perth CBD.

She said fracking would threaten the shire’s agricultural and tourism sectors.

“No one wants to holiday in a region pockmarked with fracking wells,” she said.

Residents are concerned about the effect the industry could have on underground water supplies.

There was also concern the shire’s big horticultural industry could be at risk if fracking went ahead.

“Renewable energy is the future, not fossil fuels with massive amounts of leaking methane gas emissions,’’ she said.

“Unconventional tight and shale gas is a polluting fuel that should not be allowed to put communities at risk.

“Many communities have declared themselves gasfield free since the McGowan Government made the disastrous move to overturn the fracking moratorium, and now we are joining them.”

The final report of the Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation in Western Australia 2018 (the 2018 fracking report) 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 made 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.

But separation distances for private bores used for drinking water were not included in the report’s recommendations.

The report also shows two wells in the Shire of Gingin are among more than 600 wells in WA to have already undergone hydraulic fracture stimulation (fracking) in the past.

According to Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety information the Bootine well west of Gingin on November 22, 1981 and the Gingin 1 well also west of Gingin back in July 1965 both underwent fracking.

The 2018 fracking report also said the Northern Perth Basin was being explored for tight gas – the term commonly used to refer to low permeability reservoirs that produce mainly dry natural gas.

The Northern Perth Basin has several known tight gasfields, including Warro, Gingin, Corybas, Senecio and West Erregulla.

In Western Australia, the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 defines a tight petroleum reservoir as having permeability less than 0.1 mD.

“Tight gas formations are generally more permeable than shale gas formations but hydraulic fracture stimulation is often also required to produce tight gas,’’ the 2018 fracking report said.

The Shire of Gingin took a stance against fracking earlier last year but then in June decided against formulating a policy position for the shire saying it had no control over fracking, which was governed by the state government.