A KALAMUNDA resident who is a member of Frack Free Future says signs put up by the group have been stolen in recent weeks.
Alexandra Hegarty said it appeared the signs had been taken in a planned coordinated effort.
“These signs are not political, and were put up by concerned members of the community to raise public awareness about an industry with a variety of environment and human health risks and which effectively removes land rights from the owners (both indigenous owners and agricultural land owners),’’ she said.
“Fifteen signs have now been taken from the Kalamunda area over the last few weeks.
“This is despite the fact that the Shire of Kalamunda had approved the signs being put up prior to them being posted.”
Ms Hegarty said Kalamunda and Mundaring residents were concerned about fracking – 57 residents attended a Kalamunda meeting and 65 went to a similar one in Mundaring – and wanted more information.
She said at the meeting residents watched a movie called A Fractured State by Jane Hammond.
“They were then given a slideshow presentation which discussed the science of fracking, the risks of fracking, where fracking was occurring and where the exploration licences were held,’’ she said.
“Residents had significant concerns about water mainly and the fact that gas companies were not acting in the interest of communities and that the government appeared to be complicit in this.’’
She said residents were keen to get their own yard signs and hold more screenings of the movie.
Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director petroleum Jeff Haworth said there are no current or proposed petroleum exploration permits in the Perth Hills, which included the shires of Mundaring and Kalamunda.
“The Swan Valley planning area has a ministerial directive in place preventing access to any areas within the Swan Valley for the purposes of petroleum exploration and production,’’ he said.
“Further, the underlying geology of the Perth Hills, which is granite, is not prospective for petroleum, including shale and tight gas (unconventional gas).
But in Swan Valley restriction could change (Echo News, October 13, 2016) The Department of Mines and Petroleum said the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 allowed for revocation or alteration if a future minister wished to make changes to a ministerial direction.
Mr Haworth said air emissions attributable to unconventional gas activities were not unique when compared with other onshore petroleum activities.
“During production, emissions may occur from pumps used to bring the gas to the surface or releases known as ‘fugitive emissions’ from pipe connections.
“The department requires operators to ensure good oilfield practice and to minimise emissions to levels to as low as reasonably practicable, below limits prescribed by law.
“These emissions can be minimised with good design and maintenance by the operator.
“[But] venting gaseous hydrocarbons, including volatile organic compounds, poses a fire and explosion risk to a gas plant and is not permitted under any circumstance at the production stage.
“Worker and community health and safety laws aim to preclude any significant risks of this nature.’’
“As there are no existing, pending or proposed petroleum exploration permits over the Perth Hills area and given that the underlying geology in the Perth Hills area are not prospective for petroleum, it is highly unlikely that any petroleum activities will ever be conducted in these areas, including activities related to unconventional gas.”
Frack Free Future campaign manager Jules Kirby said most concerned residents in the Perth Hills knew that there were no petroleum exploration permits covering the Perth Hills and that a ministerial direction was in place at this stage for the Swan Valley.
But he said those people were still concerned about fracking especially if any of the petroleum exploration permits covered the Yarragadee aquifer, which was the significant freshwater aquifer located in the south west of Western Australia and predominantly beneath the Swan Coastal Plain west of the Darling Scarp.
By Anita McInnes