On 5 September 2017 the Western Australian Government announced an independent scientific panel inquiry into the effects on the environment of the process of hydraulic fracture stimulation, known as fracking.
This scientific inquiry follows a commitment by the WA Government to ban fracking in the Perth metropolitan, Peel and South-West regions of Western Australia and impose a moratorium on the remainder of the State until recommendations from the inquiry can inform future policy.
The scientific inquiry will be conducted through a panel established by the Minister for Environment under section 25 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act).
The Panel will assess and report on the potential impacts arising from the use of hydraulic fracture stimulation (fracking) to develop onshore gas resources in regions currently under moratorium. The Panel will base its report and recommendations to Government on credible scientific and historical evidence related to risks, and their potential mitigation through appropriate regulation. The Panel will seek information in this regard from industry, scientific experts and the wider community.
Setting up the scientific inquiry – public engagement
The scientific inquiry will seek input from experts and stakeholders. The inquiry will also be engaging with stakeholders in Perth, the Midwest and Kimberley regions through public forums.
We will call for written submissions following the publication of a Background and Issues Paper. Please register your interest in staying informed about the inquiry and opportunities for feedback by leaving your email address here.
Chair of the Panel
The independent panel conducting the inquiry will be chaired by Dr Tom Hatton. Dr Hatton will oversee a panel of four scientists with expertise covering areas such as geology, hydrogeology, water, petroleum engineering, environment, health, ecotoxicity and social science. Dr Hatton is an esteemed long-term science leader and the current Chair of the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority.