All applications for onshore hydraulic fracture stimulation exploration and production proposals to be referred to the EPA for assessment under the EP Act.
Guidance for the assessment of all onshore hydraulic fracture proposals may be developed following assent of the Regulations being developed for Action 11.
The requirement for proposals involving hydraulic fracture stimulation to be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority (Action 7.1) has been finalised. The amendment to the Regulation 2C of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987 was approved by the Executive Council on 30 June, gazetted on 7 July 2020 and commenced 8 July 2020.
Completion of this Action requires finalization of EPA Guidance material, which in turn is dependent upon the finalization of the Enforceable Code of Practice (Action 11), which was planned for September 2021.
EPA is developing draft guidance material pertaining to proposals that incorporate hydraulic fracture stimulation; and amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation are being drafted.
Draft guidance material addressing the recommendations of the Inquiry is currently being drafted by the EPA.
Proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2C to define all onshore oil and gas exploration and production proposals involving hydraulic fracture stimulation as being of a prescribed class, therefore requiring referral to the EPA for assessment, are under development.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulations has commenced:
- drafting guidance material and administrative procedures necessary to implement the action; and
- investigation into mechanisms by which all proposals for onshore oil and gas exploration and production involving hydraulic fracturing will be referred to the EPA.