STRUCTURE AND INFORMATION REQUIRED IN SUBMISSION/COMMENT
Deadline: late Monday 19 March 2018
Lodge via email [email protected]
Please send a copy to your local MPs, the Minister for Environment and perhaps the Premier. You can find contact details for your local MPs here. The Minister for the Environment is Stephen Dawson: [email protected] And the Premier Mark McGowan's email is: [email protected]
Submissions will be public on the Inquiry website. Your own contact details are required in case the panel wants to contact you, but won’t be made public.
- There is no requirement on length of submissions. A submission can be as short or long as you like, and there is no format.
- Introduce yourself at the beginning of the submission – explain who you are and why you are concerned.
- You can address issues including those relating to water use, waste water, well integrity, contamination risk, ground water, surface water, fugitive emissions, air pollution, light pollution, the gas processing plants, generators, the industrialisation that will affect agriculture, tourism, heritage and communities. You can address one of these issues, or all of them.
- It is not compulsory, but more effective if you provide links or refer to an article or report. Wherever possible, make references to peer reviewed studies, the experiences of those in the United States and Queensland, or your own experiences with the gas industry in Western Australia. There is no required format for references.
- Providing evidence based on your own experience is extremely valuable.
- The Panel states ‘it will consider the cumulative risk of all environmental impacts for each prospective region on Western Australia, and the degree to which those impacts can be avoided, mitigated or managed through regulation’. This gives a fair indication that the outcome of the inquiry could recommend the use of fracking with appropriate regulation – not a ban. If you believe, like many scientists do (see below), that fracking can’t be safely regulated and you want the inquiry panel to recommend banning it in the whole of Western Australia, including exploration, you should say so in your submission. Otherwise, or as well, you might suggest how they can improve regulation, or if there should be areas that are no-go zones.
INFORMATION TO USE TO BACK UP YOUR SUBMISSION.
This week (13 March) a new edition came out of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. This is compiled by the Concerned Health Professionals of New York, and is a fully-referenced compilation of the evidence for the risks and harms of fracking that brings together findings from the scientific and medical literature, government and industry reports, and journalistic investigation. The latest version contains over 1200 papers, and it can be downloaded from concernedhealthny.org/compendium/ The beauty of this compendium is that a group of highly qualified health professionals and scientists review and summarise the publications so the information is readily available.
A great but very extensive resource is ROGER: Repository for Oil and Gas Energy Research: http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/site/view/1180 You can enter the button ‘Access Roger’ and you will go to a page showing all the sections. You can then choose the relevant papers and access an Abstract.
If you'd like our other summary document of evidence including all above but also what we have about Queensland and other areas in WA, please email us at [email protected]
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The McGowan Government has instructed the Inquiry Panel to only look at the following:
- Identify environmental, health, agricultural, heritage and community impacts associated with the process of hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia, noting that impacts may vary in accordance with the location of the activity;
- Use credible scientific and historical evidence to assess the level of risk associated with identified impacts;
- Describe regulatory mechanisms that may be employed to mitigate or minimise risks to an acceptable level, where appropriate;
- Recommend a scientific approach to regulating hydraulic fracture stimulation;
The Panel can only operate within the scope of the Terms of Reference set by Government, and its findings and advice cannot be based on the strength of opinion but rather the strength of evidence.
Unlike other broader inquiries across Australia, this inquiry is not considering the broader fracking and unconventional gas industry and its socio-economic impact on other industries, and the comparative value of fracking against other energy producing technologies. It is focused specifically on the direct impacts of the fracking process.
Community members were also told during the recent inquiry panel meetings that the panel would not be looking at the impacts of gas fracking on the climate.
However, if you believe that a particular activity associated with fracking will cause harm to your environment and therefore your existing economic activity, then you can make a case for the impact of that harm on your business to be considered. In other words, you can include social and economic impacts; you just need to let the panel understand how fracking would or could impact on the existing economic activities of you or your community.