WA Government gives fracking the green light

Western Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion has upheld a decision by the Environment Protection Agency to give fracking operations the green light.

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Western Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion has upheld a decision by the Environment Protection Agency to support fracking operations in WA.

According to PerthNow Marmion said the Government would "not assess" fracking by WA-based Norwest Energy in the North Perth basin.

The decision has been welcomed by the gas industry and Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which says fracking is a long-established and safe technology.

The APPEA said the WA Government had done well acting as an environmental regulator whilst also creating a business friendly environment.

Norwest Energy said the Government decision was "critical" in the company’s plans to start production in the North Perth basin.

"Success will ultimately contribute to the development of what is expected to be a significant shale gas industry in Western Australia, generating economic benefits to local communities such as employment, training and associated business opportunities, as well as significant royalties to the state," it said.

The WA Greens condemned the decision and said WA needed to develop a "stringent regulatory framework" to control onshore gas activity.

Fracking remains a contentious technology, particularly in the eastern states coal seam gas industry.

In Queensland and New South Wales fracking and onshore gas face significant community opposition, with protestors fearing the industry will harm human health, groundwater supplies, and the environment.

Unlike eastern coal seam gas, where farmland sits atop large deposits of onshore gas, much of the area covering the Perth Basin is crown land.

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