New fracking regulations welcome but still some way to go: Greens
29 August 2012
WA Greens Spokesperson for Water Alison Xamon MLC has today welcomed the release of the 2012 Petroleum Environment Regulations, saying they went a long way to addressing problems of regulation and transparency in the industry of fracking for unconventional gas.
“The Greens have been repeatedly calling for tougher regulations around this industry and for complete transparency for over 18 months,” Ms Xamon said.
Ms Xamon first called for a moratorium in March of 2011, which was debated in Parliament last month.
“When we first started calling for tougher regulations the response from Government was that the existing regulations were fine, when we knew they were far from acceptable. It took the Hunter review to confirm what the Greens had been saying, that there was significant need for improvement.
“Now, largely as a result of the Greens’ calls for action on this issue, far more stringent regulations have been created for Western Australia.
“We welcome the move towards greater transparency, especially in relation to the use of chemicals.
“Until now it has been next to impossible to find out which chemicals have been used in fracking operations, which has potentially put people and the environment at risk.
“There is a question as to whether these regulations will be applied retrospectively and whether the public will be able to find out which chemicals have already been used in the fracking operations for unconventional gas which have already occurred.”
Ms Xamon said despite the improvements in the regulations, there were still some significant areas where even more improvement was needed.
“For example, the fines need to be substantially larger. The maximum fine of $10,000 is simply not a sufficient deterrent for breaches of conditions,” she said.
“Also, we are disappointed that the chemicals are not necessarily going to be assessed by NICNAS for the purposes of fracking before they are approved – we call on the Government to still do this.
“We note in addition that the regulations still don’t contain complete transparency.
“For example, only a summary of the EMP will be released – we are calling for the full, unedited EMP to be made publicly available.
“Other information that must be publicly available includes all the monitoring results, and any decisions the Minister makes in relation to approvals.
“And the Greens remain concerned about the lack of information which exists statewide about aquifer connectivity and geological stress fields.
“Finally we call on the EPA to reverse its decision not to independently assess any of the fracks which have already occurred.
“The EPA must ensure they have undertaken the necessary independent assessment before this industry develops any further.”
For more information contact
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering