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Old parties ignore shale gas risks

The Australian Greens have emerged as the only party concerned about protecting WA's water supplies from a future shale gas industry after the old parties today again turned down moves to impose Federal environmental regulations on shale and tight gas fracking.

"The Greens were the lone Party today voting in favour of modifying the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment Bill 2013 to include protection of groundwater supplies from shale and tight gas extraction alongside protection from the coal seam gas industry," Senator Ludlam said

"The argument that shale and tight gas extraction does not pose risks to water doesn't hold; evidence from the US shows that 6-7% of shale gas wells fail within one year of construction and more than 60 per cent fail after 30 years.

"Another problem that has occurred in the USA has been when the stored waste water, containing toxic fracking fluids, has spilled and contaminated water supply - and then there is the vast amount of water required per frack.

"The WA Government is subsidising plans for the growth of a massive shale and tight gas industry in WA, to operate across the Kimberley, Mid-West and parts of the South-West - in many areas, where water supply and protection are already concerns.

"It is not okay to say ‘we haven't yet had massive problems with water and fracking in WA so we don't need to deal with it'; we should get the environmental regulations in place now, before damage is done and livelihoods are affected.

"It is also not enough to say that State-based regulations will manage the risks: the Barnett Government has said shale and tight gas fracking will be regulated by the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum - the same department that is promoting a massive expansion of the industry and which operates under an Act that has limited legal provisions pertaining to protecting the environment."

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