Seaspray locals condemn fracking ban loophole

Photo: Gasfield free Seaspray/Facebook

Seaspray locals have pledged to resist resources company Lakes Oil, which has applied to undertake horizontal drilling for tight gas near the Victorian town in East Gippsland.

The state government has a moratorium on fracking — hydraulic fracturing underground to release gas held in rocks or coal seams. But it does not apply to horizontal drilling, which in some cases can be enough to release gas from the rock.

At a February 7 protest at the entrance to the drilling site, Seaspray resident Gary Evison said: “We reject that the moratorium, as it currently stands, will protect us as Lakes Oil moves ahead with plans to conduct further drilling.

“We are taking a pledge today as a community to do whatever it takes to protect Seaspray, even if it means conducting peaceful direct action and risking arrest.”

Local beef farmer Tracey McGuiness said: “Our region produces crops, dairy and beef. Tourism is also a large industry here. Our high biodiversity must be protected. We do not want our land devalued, and our soil and waterways polluted.”

Members of the Gasfield Free Seaspray group invited deputy premier Peter Ryan, a National Party MLC who holds a seat in the area, to meet with them on February 7.