Regulations cannot prevent damage from unconventional gas and fracking

A growing number of governments have decided the fracking industry cannot be controlled through regulation. The evidence from the US in particular is that regulation and management regimes have not been able to protect water supplies, health and the environment, and key elements of WA’s own regulations have been shown to be ‘legally unenforceable’.

In Western Australia, gas is considered to be a ‘strategic resource’, regulated under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP). The WA Government and the unconventional gas (UG) and fracking industry repeatedly claim WA’s gas fracking regulations are robust and amongst the world’s strongest. These claims do not stand up to scrutiny. In fact the regulations for unconventional gas and fracking in WA are designed to make it as easy as possible for the industry.

 The process of fracking – drilling holes and pumping toxic chemicals into the Earth under pressure – is by definition a polluting activity. For this reason all over the world the industry can only operate where exempted from pollution control regulations that apply to other industries.