This is Roebuck Plains in the wet, the location for Buru's fracking program in 2014
Laurel Formation Tight Gas Pilot Exploration Program
Environmental concerns with fracking of shale include the potential contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the potential migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, the potential mishandling of waste, and the health effects of these, such as cancer. Many cases of suspected groundwater contamination have been documented. With the explosive threat of natural gas in the public exposure to the many chemicals involved in Canning Basin is expected to increase over the next few years in our community, with uncertain consequences.
The wording Pilot Exploration Program is clearly and simply a corporate managed propaganda, designed to deceive the general public of their true intentions. Buru undertook their pilot program in 2010 – 2013 these activities planned in 2014 are for oil/ gas extractions and infrastructure development. The gas obtained will be marketed.
Buru’s fracking proposal is to undertake over 32 fractures in four existing wells on the Roebuck Wetlands in 2014, two on Roebuck Plains and two in the Fitzroy River Valley.
The Western Australian Environment Protection Authority has the power and responsibility to assess proposals in Western Australia, which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment.
The public believe that the parliament decided that the EPA's environmental impact assessment process should actually prevent significant proposals from being commenced, and prevent other ministers and government agencies from issuing any other approvals, until the EPA's assessment is complete.
The environmental impact assessment process under the Environmental Protection Act 1986(WA) is therefore the primary, foremost, principal approval process for proposals which may significantly affect the environment, and parliament has required that process to be undertaken by the independent expert EPA.
Yet this latest decision not to formally assess Buru’s Laurel Formation Tight Gas Program appears to be deferring its responsibilities to other, non-expert agencies which may not actually assess environmental impacts at all. These departments seek only a copy of Buru’s Environment Plan.
I do not believe that neither the Department of Water (DOW) or the Department of Mines and Petroleum have the adequate skills or experience or the resources to undertake the assessment environmental impacts at all. These departments might paradoxically decide not to assess environmental impacts on the basis that the EPA found that the proposal was not environmentally significant.
There are no legislative powers that can force these decision- makers DOW & DMP to reconsider the environment, or even recall their own decisions.
By the EPA placing their statutory obligations into the hand of other government departments is another way of ensuring that the public is excluded from all other decisions making processes.
DOW and DMP do not have the same powers as the EPA to require the proponent to prepare environmental impact assessments. The EPA can require investigations, further information, and for information to be the subject of independent reviews. No other agencies have these powers at the assessment stage