Features, Oil & Gas Leaks

Morrison pours fracking $$ into WA

Pic: Extinction Rebellion WA’s first protest in Perth last week.
Photo: XRWA

Fossil Fool Bulletin • 22 October 2019

Plans for a new federally funded round of shale oil exploration in northern WA could see a massive expansion of fracking across the state and demonstrates how both the federal and state governments are ignoring the climate crisis.

The Morrison Government plans to use $5 million of taxpayer funds to explore for new unconventional shale oil and gas fracking resources in the north of WA, in partnership with the State Government.

“This ignores the climate crisis and shows Premier Mark McGowan has broken his promise about restricting fracking,” said Jane Hammond, a spokesperson for Lock the Gate in WA.

“Fracking will be required to access the shale oil and gas.

“Opening the West Canning basin to fracking would contradict Mr McGowan’s earlier claims that fracking would be restricted to existing petroleum leases.

Hammond said comparisons made in the media to the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in the USA were appalling.

WA doesn’t want fracked wasteland

“West Australians do not want northern WA turned into a fracked wasteland like what we have seen happen in the USA,” she said.

“If this area is opened to fracking, we will see a proliferation of licences, in direct contradiction to Premier McGowan’s claims fracking would be limited to five million hectares.

Hammond said it made no sense to open a new giant fracking oil fields in the state at a time when the world was moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

“Matt Canavan has yet again demonstrated that he is a fossil-fuel addicted dinosaur, and is totally out of step with public opinion and economic reality,” she said. “Canavan has claimed this shale boom will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs. We would like to see the evidence for these pie in the sky figures. They seem to be based on nothing but wishful thinking on behalf of the Minister.

“Opening new fossil fuel basins now could result in WA taxpayers being left with stranded assets in years to come.

“The distances involved to get this oil to market would be huge, and raise the very real prospect of an environmentally destructive project that never turns an actual profit.

“Already we have plans by fracking company Theia Energy to flare off its first few years of shale gas in the Great Sandy Desert in the Kimberley while it targets the associated shale oil.

“We absolutely cannot afford to sacrifice our state to massive, environmentally destructive, and economically dubious new oil and gas fracking projects,” Hammond said.

Meanwhile, Western Australia’s peak conservation and climate change organisation have called for the McGowan Government to prosecute the state’s biggest climate polluters, rather than protesters.

Last week, 60 people were arrested for taking part in a disruptive protest that brought Perth to a standstill for several hours.

Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) Director Piers Verstegen said it was WA’s biggest polluters that should be prosecuted, not people protesting about climate change.

“A government that prosecutes climate protesters while doing nothing about the companies damaging our climate every day has its priorities very wrong.

“Here in WA, the climate is being damaged by tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution every year from companies like Chevron, Woodside, Shell and BP.

“WA’s biggest polluter, Chevron, has been in of its conditions for many months, yet the Minister for the Environment and McGowan Government has taken no action to prevent Chevron from releasing twenty million tons of climate-damaging carbon pollution every year.

Criminal climate damage

“Instead of getting this criminal climate damage under control, these companies and the McGowan Government are planning yet more expansions of polluting fossil fuel industries.

“The proposed Browse Basin/Burrup Hub LNG project led by Woodside will result in around 100 million tons of carbon pollution every year – three to four times the pollution of the Adani coal mine.

“These companies are the real criminals, not protesters. They should be prosecuted for the irreparable damage they are causing to the climate, which is a far bigger crime than disrupting the daily commute for Perth city workers,” Verstegen said.

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