Will it happen to WA?
Does WA have a lot of experience with shale gas fracking?
This claim is highly misleading at best. There have only been a few test sites fracked in WA using modern methods for shale gas fracking.
In making this claim, industry and regulators have compared unconventional gas fracking with conventional oilfield fracking that involves only vertical wells, lower pressures, and fewer chemicals. The horizontal drilling and 'slickwater' fracking planned for WA is very different and more technically challenging.
Does the depth of shale deposits mean fracking is safe?
The two most significant causes of water contamination from fracking operations - well casing failure and careless disposal of 'flowback' fluids - are not related to the depth of gas-bearing rock. US studies have found clear evidence of groundwater pollution from shale and tight gas development at similar depths to those in Western Australia.
What is CSG?
Sometimes claimed opponents of shale and tight gas developments are mistaking this form of gas with coal seam gas (CSG), the implication being that what's happened with CSG could not happen in WA. There are differences, but the risk of pollution to groundwater, and the impact of land and communities are very similar.
East coast CSG wells are useful guides to some of the impacts of fracking, but better illustrations are US shale developments such as the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, or the Barnett Shale in Texas. These shale deposits lie at similar depths to the deposits in Western Australia and increasingly corning stories continue to emerge from these places.
Is gas a 'clean' source of energy?
In reality, gas fracking involves the release of large amounts of methane into the atmosphere in the form of 'fugitive emissions'. Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas -86 times owrse for climate change than carbon dioxide is over 20 years.
In fact recent research is confirming that gas from fracking is likely worse for the climate than coal. The good news is we don'e need either - renewables and energy efficiency are repidly removing the need for any fossil fuels.
Being such a polluting industry, there must be a strong regulatory framework for shale gas in WA?
No. Regulators and industry like to claim that strong regulations in place in WA will protect us from the risks of shale gas fracking.
In fact the WA Government's own review of regulations for gas fracking the environmental management places (EMPs) required of companies are "legally unenforceable."