State government must broaden Fracking moratorium

Media release Friends of the Earth

On Saturday May11, around 180 people attending a public meeting at Seaspray in Gippsland to express concern about the possibility of gas drilling in their area. On Monday evening, Lakes Oil dropped a letter in mailboxes, telling adjacent landowners it would start ‘testing’ at their Wombat 1 drill site the next day, Tuesday May 14.

“After such a strong message of concern from the community, it is appalling that Lakes would still continue with their preparations to recommence drilling at their Wombat site” said Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Cam Walker. “It shows contempt for legitimate community concerns about the impacts of unconventional gas operations.”

“Lakes Oil have defended their planned re-fracking in the Seaspray area by saying it is for Tight Gas, not CSG. However, concerns about the process of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), use of chemicals, and potential contamination of aquifers remain”.

“It is clear that all onshore Unconventional gas operations will struggle to achieve social licence with the people of Gippsland.

“The state government admitted as such in declaring a moratorium on the process of fracking in 2012. However, exploration and activity that doesn’t involve fracking can continue. The failings of the state government intervention will become apparent in coming days as Lakes Oil clears it well and starts to burn off gas in flare pits.

“The new Energy and Resources Minister, Mr Nick Kotsiras, has announced that he will consult with the public about the future of the moratorium. Until this happens, the only reasonable action the government can take is to extend the moratorium to cover all activity around new Gas operations .”

Further information:

Cam Walker 0419 338 047

Ursula Alquier, FoE community campaigner, on site in Seaspray. 0499 991 324