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Buru to gas frack without EPA assessment

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
World's kookiest billionairesBillionaires and their eccentric and outlandish publicity stunts.

The West Australian government has decided to allow Buru Energy to frack for gas in the Kimberley region without an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assessment.

The junior explorer plans to test tight gas flows using hydraulic fracturing stimulation at four existing wells along its Laurel Formation prospect in the second half of 2014.

The EPA told the company in January that the proposal raised several environmental issues but it had decided against subjecting it to an impact assessment process.

"The EPA considers that this small scale, `proof of concept' exploration drilling proposal is unlikely to have a significant effect on the environment," it said.

Potential impacts such as vegetation clearing and pollution of groundwater due to well failure could be monitored and mitigated by the Department of Mines and Petroleum and the Department of Water, the EPA said.

On Tuesday, WA environment minister Albert Jacobs said the EPA's decision was justified and dismissed 48 appeals.

Conservation groups were outraged and renewed their call for a moratorium on gas fracking in WA.

"This is WA's largest ever fracking proposal by a long shot, and for it to have no scrutiny by WA's only independent environmental watchdog is appalling," Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said.

"While the government claims that gas fracking has been done safely in WA for decades, they fail to say that modern day fracking is completely different, with much higher risks for the environment, groundwater and public health."

According to Buru Energy, some 780 wells have been fractured for oil and gas in the state since 1958, including seven tight gas wells that were fracked since 2005.

The company and its joint venture partner Mitsubishi ultimately hope to deliver 1500 petajoules of gas into the WA domestic market over an initial 25-year period.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum is expected to announce whether it has approved Buru's exploration drilling plan in coming days.

21/10/2014 11:32Sydney, Australia. 21 October,2014
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