Conservation groups and the Mid West communities of Green Head and Leeman are breathing a sigh of relief today as they receive the welcome news that gas company AWE will not go ahead with plans to conduct fracking operations in the controversial Drover-01 Well.
This is good news for the community, good news for the groundwater and a huge relief for the landholder where the Drover well has been drilled.
Certainly the locals will be breathing a big sigh of relief that their town water supply is not under threat from gas fracking.
Gas fracking anywhere presents serious risks for the environment and groundwater, but the Drover well was a particularly poor choice of location for fracking because it is in the catchment area for the town water supply and right next to a National Park.
AWE have not been able to go ahead and conduct test fracking in the Drover well as per their original plans.
The strength of local community opposition to fracking in a town water supply area, and the potential for groundwater contamination has undoubtedly been a big factor in this decision.
Other companies and investors looking at the Mid-West as a potential area for fracking should be very cautious following this news.
Gas fracking proposals have failed to gain a social license to operate in the Mid-West so if that is your plan, be prepared for a long hard uphill battle.
We will now be calling on the State Government to remove the threat of gas fracking in this area entirely by permanently cancelling this exploration lease.
AWE have stated that they will be ‘rehabilitating’ the well however we know that abandoned fracking wells can present an ongoing risk to the environment so the Conservation Council will continue to monitor this situation.