WA Government releases new advice on fracking measures

December 17th, 2014

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia has released updated advice on how and when it will assess proposals that involve hydraulic fracturing for shale and tight gas in the West.

The updated advice formalises the requirements many West Australian operators have already been practising as part of their everyday operations – transparent and open communication about operations and the control measures in place to ensure an environmentally sound and safe outcome.

The updated advice more clearly defines the circumstances under which the EPA would assess a proposal – and importantly, also sets out the EPA’s expectations on the information required to conduct a thorough environmental impact assessment.

EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said the EPA believed it was important to provide early advice to proponents considering larger scale proposals.

“It is essential that in preparing for the potential future referral of a larger-scale trial or full production-scale proposal, that the studies undertaken and information provided to the EPA are robust and sufficiently comprehensive to enable a thorough assessment of the environmental impacts and risks,” Dr Vogel said.

The revised advice from the EPA emphasises the State’s confidence in its ability to thoroughly and objectively assess the management and development of larger scale shale and tight gas operations.

The increased transparency provides even greater assurance to local communities that any approved development projects have been scrutinised by multiple expert decision makers and the appropriate regulatory decision makers, including the Department of Mines and Petroleum and the Department of Water.

In addition, the updated advice shows how the regulators in WA are evolving the way they review and assess hydraulic fracturing operations.

As the technology and safeguards improve and develop, so too does the level of assessment and the regulatory framework.

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