Stretching the truth in the West

November 25th, 2014

Despite confirmation from Western Australian oil and gas operator Norwest Energy that it has zero intention to drill or hydraulically fracture at or near an iconic local tourism attraction, industry opponents continue to spread fear among local residents.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA)  claims that The Pinnacles, an iconic West Australian landscape, is under threat after a permit was awarded to the company which covers the local tourism attraction.

Untrue.

Let’s see what the company had to say.

Norwest chief executive Peter Munachen went on the record, confirming that the company was actually interested in the eastern and southern edges of the permit area and had no intention of drilling, fracking or conducting any others exploration activities near The Pinnacles which is in the north of the permit.

“The answer is point blank, full stop, no discussion: we would never drill or frack or do any exploration at The Pinnacles,” he said.

Munachen’s comments are definitive, but that hasn’t stopped CCWA from continuing to use the Pinnacles as a supposed prime example of the supposed evils of oil and gas, sending a marketing email this week titled ‘They’ve really crossed the line this time’.

There’s only one group who’ve crossed the line, and that’s the CCWA.

The CCWA continue to deliberately mislead the public. The group has form in this type of misleading campaigning, with a recent attempt at advertising found to be be misleading.

CCWA seem to have forgotten that there has already been 200 wells drilled, with multiple wells also hydraulically fractured without any significant environmental impacts, in the Mid West, proving that industry and tourism can co-exist.

In fact, oil and gas companies have been operating in coexistence with local communities in the Mid West since the 1960’s when gas was first produced from the Dongara Gas Field.

There is no reason why coexistence cannot continue. Oil and gas operators have proven repeatedly that they can safely and environmentally responsibly extract natural gas resources in Western Australia.

The WA industry regulator, the Department of Mines and Petroleum, said that while a company’s title area may overlap sensitive areas such as nature reserves, town sites or heritage listed areas, in no way does this guarantee a right of entry.

In any case, the DMP enforces a strict regulatory regime, in which operators must have every aspect on its proposed on-ground activity approved before site work can commence, a process which ensures safety and environmental best practise is enforced.

It’s about time the CCWA stopped scaremongering and started dealing in fact.

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