Ningaloo groups welcome frack licence withdrawal

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
VideoThe State Government says a new scientific study shows unconventional gas can be recovered safely and without damaging humans or the environment.

Environmentalists in Exmouth and Coral Bay are celebrating after the withdrawal of two on-shore fracking licences in the Carnarvon Basin.

The leases, known as EP 359 and EP 435, expired in December and were not renewed by project manager Bounty Oil and Gas.

The removal of the licences was discovered by the Lock The Gate Alliance after they disappeared from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Petroleum Titles Map in January.

Lock The Gate Alliance spokeswoman Jane Hammond said an independent fracking inquiry report, handed to the State Government in September, hinted at the potential of this happening.

“The independent panel of experts who produced that report did not examine the Carnarvon Basin or include it in their deliberation because they didn’t see it as likely to have fracking,” she said.

“So it wasn’t a great surprise when those licences expired and weren’t renewed.”

Frack Free Ningaloo co-ordinator Grace Keast said the people of the Ningaloo communities were relieved they would no longer be directly threatened by fracking in their region.

“In July, 2017, Exmouth declared itself gas field-free after an extensive survey of residents resulted in 98.3 per cent saying “yes” to going frack-free, closely followed in September, 2017 by Coral Bay with 99.4 per cent also saying “yes” to going gas field-free,” she said.

“We effectively removed any social licence that fracking companies had to operate in our region by declaring ourselves gas field-free.”

Ms Hammond said the withdrawal of these two leases proved fracking was unnecessary and urged companies to look at cleaner alternatives.

“Instead of starting a whole new industry, let’s use the gas we have off-shore and transition to renewables,” she said.

“We win in every way if we go down that path. Clean energy will protect our planet, our water and give people cheaper electricity.”

Bounty Oil and Gas failed to respond by time of print on its reasons for not renewing the licences.

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