EPA release bulletin on hydraulic fracturing

EPA updates advice hydraulic fracturing
Date: Friday, 19 December 2014

Environmental Protection Bulletin clarifies regulatory framework around hydraulic fracturing in Western Australia 

An Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) bulletin released on 17 December 2014 on hydraulic fracturing for onshore natural gas from shale and tight rocks clarifies the regulatory framework and potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities.

The Environmental Protection Bulletin replaces advice issued by the EPA in 2011 and reflects how the regulation around the industry has evolved over recent years.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fraccing, is a process that uses fluids and other materials that are pumped under high pressure into gas bearing rock formations in order to open fractures or cracks to create a path for the gas to flow.

Acknowledging the high level of community interest in hydraulic fracturing, this further public information increases the transparency of the regulatory framework and assessment procedures around the activity, and will grow community confidence in the State Government’s ability to safely regulate the industry.

The bulletin defines the circumstances under which the EPA would assess a proposal and sets out the EPA’s expectations on the information required to conduct a thorough environmental impact assessment.

The majority of onshore petroleum exploration activity interest in WA is for shale and tight gas.

The EPA’s Environmental Protection Bulletin No. 22 Hydraulic fracturing for onshore natural gas from shale and tight rocks is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au