No social licence to drill

Whicher Range Residents Action Group spokesperson Mariah de Cerquiera has delayed building a home on her property because of concerns the area could become industrialised with gas wells.

Whicher Range Residents Action Group spokesperson Mariah de Cerquiera has delayed building a home on her property because of concerns the area could become industrialised with gas wells.

A BUSSELTON family who bought land near Whicher Range have stopped construction on their property because of gas industry concerns.

The family said they were concerned about what the gas industry had planned for their backyards because they were situated in the gas lease area.

The newly formed Whicher Range Residents Action Group spokesperson Mariah de Cerquiera said her home was less than three kilometres from the gas wells.

Ms de Cerquiera said she was concerned about the health impacts on her children and industrialisation of Whicher Range.

“The Whicher Range is a priority one water catchment area and should be a no-go zone for the gas industry,” she said.

“The whole project makes little sense. Our water is far more precious a resource than gas and our land, health and existing sustainable agricultural and tourism industries should take priority over a short-term dirty and experimental industry.”

CalEnergy have been at the Whicher Range site since 2013 and began drilling last year to evaluate if there was enough conventional gas below the surface to set up an operation in the South West.

CalEnergy managing director Peter Youngs said the company was actively engaging with the community to keep people informed about their developments.

Mr Youngs said diversification of gas supplies was in the strategic interest of the whole of WA, particularly the South West, where many communities and businesses were not, and could not currently be, connected.

“Additionally, energy constraints are present in parts of the South West that also hinder investment in the region,” he said.

"Commercial gas production from Whicher Range would provide an important stimulus for the region.”

The onshore gas industry has faced public backlash over techniques used to extract gas which could be damaging to the environment, mainly hydraulic fracturing.

Mr Youngs said CalEnergy had stated publicly many times that the geology at Whicher Range was not suitable for fracking. 

“We have not and will not use hydraulic fracturing or stimulation at Whicher Range,” he said.

On Sunday, North Boyanup became the second South West community to declare itself gasfield-free with residents stating the industry does not have a social licence to operate there.

The declaration comes after licences for gas exploration are set to be granted in the region.

The Whicher Range Residents Action Group will screen Fractured Country at 6.30pm on Wednesday, September 21 at The Goose in Busselton.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop