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Bullsbrook farmer and Lock the Gate Alliance member Anne Gething is organising the Bullsbrook stop for the Ute Muster bringing anti-fracking farmers to the city this weekend.

Anti-fracking farmers in town

BULLSBROOK, Swan Valley and The Vines landholders and residents are invited to join a convoy of farmers with utes heading to the city to demand politicians protect their land and water from fracking gasfields ahead of the upcoming State Election.

Farmers and residents from across the Mid West will gather with Bullsbrook residents in the open space between Great Northern Hwy and Truscott St in Bullsbrook from 10am to 11am on Saturday February 18, before continuing through the Swan Valley into the city.

Swan Valley, Ellenbrook and The Vines residents are invited to join in at the next stop from 11.30am to noon at West Swan Hall, on the corner of West Swan Rd and Henley St, Henley Brook.

Anne Gething, a farmer from the group organising the Bullsbrook stop, said the Ute Muster was aimed at highlighting gas industry moves to start exploration and possibly mining in the region, as well as supporting farmers from further north who have exploration on their door steps.

“Right now we have a gas company with a permit to explore for gas in parts of the local area with Brigadoon, Upper Swan, The Vines and Bullsbrook [residents] all at risk and having no protection from drilling or fracking, our properties are at risk,” she said.

“We are concerned that the unconventional gas industry poses a significant risk to our water resources, including depletion and contamination, which along with air pollution from flaring and venting could have adverse impacts on the health of residents.
“Unconventional gas extraction methods including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling may be used to access the gas out of this area, but councils and residents are not able to prevent this access to their land.

“Our vibrant agricultural and vigneron industries are dependent on good clean water so why would we risk contaminating our water supply for a short term invasive and polluting industry?’’

Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director of petroleum Jeff Haworth said the Swan Valley planning area had a ministerial directive in place preventing access to any areas within the Swan Valley for the purposes of petroleum exploration and production.

But Swan Valley restriction could change  (Echo News, October 13, 2016) established that the direction was not set in stone and could be changed.

In answer to questions the department’s petroleum tenure and land access general manager Bev Bower said a direction was issued by the position not a person but the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 did allow for revocation or alteration if future ministers wished to make changes.

When told residents who were against fracking say the unconventional gas industry risks contaminating a water supply for a short term gain, Mr Haworth said the quality of the state’s water sources was protected through a collaborative approach across government.

“Agencies involved include the departments of Water, Environment Regulation, Health, Mines and Petroleum and the Environment Protection Agency where appropriate,’’ he said.

“As with any industrial or mining activity, there are potential risks to groundwater, wetlands and waterways, which can be posed by well integrity failure, surface contamination from spills, the release of hydrocarbons, or gas leaks.

“These risks can be mitigated and managed through best practice and stringent regulation.

“As part of the approvals process the departments of Environment Regulation, Mines and Petroleum and the Environment Protection Agency may require the operating company (licensee or occupier) to conduct onsite environmental monitoring.

“This monitoring includes the testing of groundwater by a certified laboratory in the vicinity of the operations before and after an activity.

“Proponents are required to undertake baseline monitoring before starting any activity that is a potential risk to groundwater or surface water.”

Lock the Gate Alliance coordinator Simone van Hattem said the group was holding a film night, to which election candidates had been invited, on Monday, February 27 at 7pm at West Swan Hall, West Swan Rd, Henley Brook.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

One comment

  1. There is clear evidence that tampering with nature will make the earth untenable for any other than the very rich who may be able to set up climate controlled cocoons to insulate themselves. The big companies carrying our mining of gas and coalfields provide funds for the very rich, so they must be stopped before it is too late.

    Sure the climate change deniers will argue that smaller investors and superannuation funds benefit as well, but what price a short term gain leading to a long term disaster for our children and grandchildren, when we could change direction and provide a far better future for all of us.

    People from two hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, did not have the science to understand what they were doing to the planet, but we do, and it would be criminal of us to go on as we are. I am in the afternoon of my life, having been able to experience so many beautiful and marvelous things, and it would be remiss and cowardly of me to allow the destruction of those things by the rich, the ignorant and the distainful without a fight.

    Regardless of what politicians say for short term gain and to ensure that they have a good salary and long career, the science is there to deliver energy and food in a sustainable and efficient way and if they really represent us they should be supporting this change in direction for the sake of all of us and the future of our great grandchildren.

    My prayer is that history will remember these generations for being strong enough to change our direction and deliver a sustainable, rich, diverse and comfortable environment for all of God’s creatures.

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