Shale gas fracking in WA is a threat to limited ground water supplies. This weekend a new campaign will be launched to raise awareness about the risk fracking poses to our ground water supplies.
Below is a brief summary of the issue written by Fracking campaigner Jamie Hanson:
Protecting Our Clean Water and Healthy Land
Jamie Hanson, Conservation Council of WA
One thing environmentalists and farmers will always have in common is an understanding of the vital importance of water. Healthy water supplies are essential to healthy land, healthy people and healthy wildlife.
That is why we are seeking to educate people about the dangers posed by the fledgling and experimental shale gas fracking industry.
Fracking is different to conventional drilling. The gas is trapped within deep rocks that are cracked by injecting a cocktail of chemicals into the ground under extremely high pressure. More than 500 different chemicals are used due to the complexity of cracking the rocks. Others are released from the rocks themselves during fracking. Many such as benzene, mercury, arsenic, and radium are toxic to humans, livestock and wildlife.
Industry statistics from Pensylvania in the USA show that 6-7% of shale fracking wells leak dangerous pollutants into ground water within three years. Leaks are likely to increase with time as the concrete well casings age and crack. This has ruined the lives of many local people leaving water contaminated and towns without drinking water, including the Sautner family whose water is so polluted their children can’t even shower at home, but they are unable to move because the value of their land has collapsed.
The fracking industry want to drill 100,000 wells in the Kimberley, and 30,000 in the Midwest, including on farms, nature reserves, in wildflower country and in drinking water catchments at Jurien Bay and Eneabba.
Despite the risks, the state Government has been actively promoting the fracking industry, offering half price royalties and financial incentives that come out of Royalties for Regions funding that is supposed to be spent on regional development. There has been no environmental assessment.
Fracking has made people sick in Queensland and in the United States. It has spoiled good agricultural land through pollution and disruption of the land. It will scar our wilderness areas and farms with thousands of roads and well pads. There will be hundreds of new trucks on the roads to service the industry, roads paid for by regional rate payers.