Mid West local residents tell Norwest at company AGM: fracking not welcome on the Turquoise Coast

The gas fracking company which has been issued a controversial exploration lease over the Pinnacles, Jurien Bay, Leeman, Cervantes and other Mid West coastal towns has been challenged by local residents opposed to fracking at the company’s AGM today.

In an open letter to Norwest Energy shareholders, 275 residents from the small coastal communities said they were strongly opposed to gas fracking in the region and would work together in efforts to protect their land and water against the industry. 

The letter urges shareholders to withdraw investment support for Norwest Energy and warns that “any attempts by Norwest Energy to explore or develop unconventional gas resources in this area will be met with strong, organised and united community opposition.” (full text of letter below).

The latest action comes after two Mid West Shires adopted policies to protect their land and water from gas fracking, and to support the growing number of communities opposed to the practice. 

Conservation Council spokesperson Chantelle Roberts, who delivered the letter at the meeting on behalf of residents, said "Local communities are sending a clear message today to Norwest Energy and its shareholders that the company does not have a social license to operate in their region.

“The people of this region are horrified that their beautiful coast, national parks, nature reserves and their farms and water reserves are at risk from unnecessary drilling and exploration.”

"Gas fracking exploration leases have been issued over towns, national parks, farmland and groundwater areas with no community consultation, no environmental assessment, and no adequate controls to protect land, water, public health or the environment.

"Fortunately, these strong communities are coming together against gas fracking, uniting to defend their land, water and health against this unwanted toxic industry.

“Gas fracking is one of the most polluting industries in the world and will be strongly opposed in the Mid West, Kimberley and other regions of WA where it is planned.  

Mid West residents, some of whom have been working to fight fires in their own areas over the last 24 hours, sent their photos and quotes to the meeting so shareholders could hear their voices. (more quotes and pictures are available on request)

Jim Clarke, veteran, Jurien Bay
“We don’t need it, we can’t take the risk. Fracking is first class stupidity in every aspect, no sane reason for it.”

Clem Winton, Green Head
“I’m dead against fracking, it is morally wrong. There are too many unanswered questions and no one will guarantee to protect our environment”

Judy Briggs, Business Owner, Jurien Bay
“I want your guarantee our water will remain clean and healthy for my children, grandchildren and their children”

Andrea Gray, Jurien Bay
“Climate change, water security - withdraw your investment NOW for our communities and your community’s future.”  

Comment: Chantelle Roberts 0416 363 027  

Open letter to Norwest Energy Shareholders  

Dear Norwest Energy Shareholders,  

We the undersigned local residents are from the area including Cervantes, Green Head, Jurien Bay and Lancelin. This area has just been granted to Norwest as an exploration permit for unconventional gas.  

We are horrified that Norwest is planning to extract unconventional gas by fracking in our farms, our nature reserves, our groundwater resource areas and in our communities.  

The area granted for exploration includes 4 coastal townships, 3 nature reserves and 3 national parks including the iconic Pinnacles desert (Nambung National Park). The permit area also contains a number of groundwater resource areas which our farms, businesses and communities depend upon.  

We understand that Norwest applied to the State Government and was subsequently granted the exploration permits over these areas, however no community consultation has been done either by the company or by the government agencies.

We write to advise you that Norwest does not have a social license to undertake exploration for unconventional gas in this region. We do not want to live in an unconventional gasfield and we will vigorously defend our right to clean water and healthy land.  

We will be actively opposing exploration activities by Norwest Energy in this area in order to protect our water and land, and to preserve our iconic tourism sites.  

Any attempts by Norwest Energy to explore or develop unconventional gas resources in this area will be met with strong, organised and united community opposition.  

We urge you to withdraw your investment support for Norwest Energy and instead invest in industries which do not cause pollution and which can demonstrate the support of the local communities that they operate in.  

Signed by 275 residents from
Cervantes, Green Head, Leeman, Jurien Bay, Wedge Island and Hill River