An oil and gas extraction method will be prohibited to use across nearly all of Western Australia.
The State Government has lifted a nine-month moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for existing petroleum titles in line with the new Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Amendment Regulations 2019.
This means fracking will be banned for more than 98 per cent of the Golden State, including Perth, Peel, South West, Broome, Kalbarri and the Dampier Peninsula regions. It will also prevent fracking within 2 km of public drinking water source areas in national parks and towns.
The only areas where fracking will be allowed are in parts of the Mid West region inland from Canarvon, Pilbara, Top End and between Geraldton and just north of Perth.
“Companies undertaking future hydraulic fracturing activities will need to refer all exploration and production projects to the Environmental Protection Authority for assessment,” WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said in a public statement.
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Easier to oppose projects
In addition to this traditional land owners and farmers will have the power to oppose oil and gas production through fracking on their land.
The WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety are co-chairing a senior officials steering group that is tasked with developing a plan and overseeing its implementation.
“A new code of practice will also be developed, prescribing minimum enforceable standards for hydraulic fracturing activities,” Johnston said. “Proponents considering hydraulic fracturing are encouraged to engage with the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to ensure they understand the new requirements.”
Photo credit: Jeremy Buckingham