Fracking concern to be aired at Warrnambool meeting

WARRNAMBOOL’S first anti-fracking meeting will happen tonight as environmentalists drum up opposition to unconventional gas operations in the south-west. 

Campaigners are on the front foot against mining companies who hold a handful of exploration permits to search for gas in the region. 

Last week the Great South Coast Group urged the government to keep the moratorium on coal seam gas in place. 

Fracking to release coal-seam gas involves high-pressure pumping of water and chemicals into the earth to break up layers of rock, freeing trapped gas reserves. 

Opposition groups argue the method contaminates underground water reservoirs and aquifers, damaging the productivity of farmland. The state government has vowed extensive community consultation before the moratorium cut-off date in July next year.

Meeting organiser Nadia Collis, from Lock The Gate Alliance, said many in the city were not aware of the issue. 

“The most important thing we’re trying to do is make people aware that these companies are conducting geographic surveys,” Ms Collis said.

She pointed to the presence of Beach Energy in the region, but also claimed WHL Energy and the Terex Group were conducting surveys in the region. 

“What are they here for … what are they drilling for?” 

Ms Collis said a panel of environmental scientists and academics would speak  at Warrnambool City Bowls Club tonight from 7.30pm. 

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