LEAF Esperance calls on council to oppose drilling in the Bight

The presentation followed a public screening of Greenpeace documentary Wild Waters, hosted by LEAF, about the risks of experimental oil drilling and seismic blasting. Photo: Jonty Scoble.
The presentation followed a public screening of Greenpeace documentary Wild Waters, hosted by LEAF, about the risks of experimental oil drilling and seismic blasting. Photo: Jonty Scoble.

The Local Environmental Action Forum has called on the Shire of Esperance to join 18 other local governments taking a stand against proposed drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

The call is part of a nationwide campaign, driven by the Great Australian Bight Alliance, against the oil and gas exploration in the Bight proposed by Norwegian company Equinor.

In May, the Shire of Ravensthorpe joined 17 other local governments opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

LEAF co-convenor Dr Helen McCarthy made a presentation to Shire of Esperance councillors on Tuesday, May 28, stating the group held grave concerns about the impact an oil spill could have on the Recherche Archipelago.

"We believe that this oil and gas exploration and consequent industrialisation in the Great Australian Bight will have consequences for Esperance," she said.

"We believe that seismic testing, offshore drilling for oil and the consequent industrialisation in the Great Australian Bight will hold potential detrimental consequences for our marine and coastal environments.

"As a community of concerned residents, we want to value and protect our natural environment and recognise the importance of protecting our Recherche Archipelago."

During the presentation, Dr McCarthy said council enacting its 2014 Esperance Local Government Coastal Management Plan was timely.

Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the council had not yet discussed the presentation and shire staff were gathering further information.

"Council have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the information provided by LEAF with respect to opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Great Australian Bight since LEAF's presentation to council," he said.

"Dr McCarthy tabled a letter on behalf of LEAF outlining their request with a number of signatories supportive of this request.

"The next step is for shire staff to provide a briefing to council, which we are currently gathering information on, this may then evolve into a report item to council."

The presentation followed a public screening of Greenpeace documentary Wild Waters, hosted by LEAF, about the risks of experimental oil drilling and seismic blasting.