The McGowan Government is bending its own rules to encourage a fracking project that threatens to lay waste to the Kimberley’s world renowned landscape.
Texas-based Black Mountain has issued a press release, thanking the McGowan Government for granting an exemption so it can export fracked gas from its proposed “Valhalla” project in the West Kimberley.
The only way to export this gas would be to pipe it to the Pilbara at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. To underpin this kind of investment, there would have to be thousands of gas fracking wells through the Kimberley.
Shaun Clark, from Broome-based Environs Kimberley, the peak environmental NGO for the Kimberley, said he was disappointed but not surprised the government had granted Black Mountain an exemption.
“The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority has not even finished assessing this project, yet somehow now Black Mountain has an export permit. Talk about putting the cart before the horse,” he said.
“This decision is effectively a green light by the McGowan government for thousands of gas fracking wells across the world renowned Kimberley landscapes. We know that once fracking companies gain a foothold in a region, they expand like spiderwebs across the landscape.
"This exemption makes a mockery of the domestic gas reservation policy and the EPA’s assessment process.
“We believe an objective, science-backed assessment would find any fracking project totally unacceptable for the Kimberley’s fragile environment.
"The damage from thousands of fracked gas wells, pipelines and pollution all for an export gas industry from the Kimberley would be horrific - it's our worst nightmare.
"The McGowan Government’s announcement with its talk of large scale gas production and gas pipelines criss-crossing the Kimberley has all the hallmarks of Colin Barnett's misguided promotion of the James Price Point gas hub.
"The Kimberley community did not invite gas frackers to the region and they and the government can expect just as robust opposition as Mr Barnett and Woodside experienced."