Norwest Energy, in conjunction with partners AWE and Bharat Petroleum, are planning to clear up to 185 hectares of high quality native vegetation (‘Kwongan Heathland’) in and around the Beekeeper’s Nature Reserve.
They want to do 3D seismic testing to work out where to locate a horizontal fracking well to join one that is already in existence, turning the area around the nature resereve into a commercial gas fracking field.
The State Government and Federal Governments have dismissed all environmental appeals, granting conditional approval for the plan. The Department of Mines and Petroleum must approve the activity and safety plans before the works can begin.
The Conservation Council of WA, wildflower experts, local residents, tourism operators and scientists are among opponents of the plan.
Some of the main problems identified by opponents of the plan include:
- A nature reserve, and the area around it, is not an appropriate area for oil and gas exploration.
- The company has clearly stated they plan to turn the area around the nature reserve into a commercial gas fracking field, which would have a huge impact on the reserve as well as other industries in the area (including beekeeping and tourism) and the conservation values of the region.
- The clearing will impact on habitat for threatened fauna species.
- Even with the conditions applied by the Federal and State Government to reduce the environmental impact of the project, the clearing and other activity will seriously increase the risk of incursion of feral animals, weeds and dieback in the area.
- Individuals who wish to oppose this can call their local MP and ask them to join the campaign to protect the Beekeeper’s Nature Reserve. One can also sign the petition (available here) to Parliament asking them to investigate this project and stop the clearing and write to Norwest Energy and tell them you don’t support the clearing or fracking.
For more information, view the CCWA information sheet (available here), go to www.cleanwaterhealthyland.org.au or contact Chantelle Roberts at the CCWA on 9420 7266.