A rancher from Wyoming in the United States whose life and livelihood have been severely disrupted by fracking for tight gas has spoken at a series of public meetings in Perth and the Mid-West between April 20 to 24.
John Fenton’s “Warning from Wyoming” tour, organised by the Lock the Gate Alliance, has given WA residents the opportunity to hear firsthand the realities of life in a gasfield.
A comprehensive, peer-reviewed study from Stanford University, published in March 2016, has confirmed that fracking and other oil and gas activities have contaminated water sources in John Fenton’s local area of Pavillion, Wyoming USA.
“Gas companies have come in to our region and caused proven contamination to our water resources, although they have denied it for 10 long years, and continue to deny it despite the new research,” Mr Fenton said.
“We are forced to truck water in because our water is no longer safe to drink.
“Our community has also experienced serious health effects as a result of air pollution from gas activities.
“Our whole way of life has changed dramatically, we have 24 gas wells on our property including one just 100m from our family home, and we now have to deal every day with gas wells, pipelines, truck traffic, compressor stations and access roads that crisscross our property.
“My message to people while I’m here in Australia is that if you eat food and drink water, then this should be your business. No-one can escape the impacts of the gas fracking industry once it is entrenched,” he said.
WA coordinator for Lock the Gate Boudicca Cerese said Mr Fenton’s story was a sobering reminder of what we could face in WA if large scale fracking gasfields are developed in regional WA.
“It’s simply misleading for government and industry to continue to claim that this industry is safe when there is now so much documented evidence of the effects on water and health from fracking and unconventional gas extraction in the United States,” Ms Cerese said.
“We have the opportunity here in WA to learn from the mistakes in the US, and the WA Government should be putting the brakes on this industry to undertake a comprehensive science-based assessment of the risks and implement proper protections for our water resources and rural communities.”
Fracking Study Finds Toxins in Wyoming Town's Groundwater and Raises Broader Concerns: The Stanford University study, published in March 2016 found hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas operations contaminated the groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming. The Stanford study identified chemicals in Pavillion's water related to substances that companies reported using in local fracking operations and acid stimulation (an oil and gas production method).
A Scientific American article from April 4, 2016 also reports on the Stanford study in detail.