Kimberley Fracker fined with net zero claims for greenwashing

Black Mountain was asked if it would stand by these claims or remove them from its website and has yet to respond.

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Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said he was disappointed with the small penalty “especially as it comes amid record flooding in the Kimberley, made worse by burning fossil fuels like gas”.

“This is another opportunity for WA Premier Mark McGowan and his ministers to end the threat of fracking in the Kimberley,” he said.

“They know that the gas fracking industry would ruin the $500 million tourism industry based on the world-renowned natural and cultural landscapes of the internationally renowned region.”

In September, Black Mountain CEO Rhett Bennett, who owns about 80 percent of the company, said the WA government’s approval to export gas, received a few months ahead of its listing on the ASX in December 2021, was a “major milestone”.

WA Deputy Prime Minister Roger Cook said at the time that the exemption from the ban on onshore gas exports recognized Valhalla’s remote location.

“I also recognize the potential benefits the project offers to Kimberley and the broader WA community through regional jobs and business opportunities, royalties and domestic gas supply,” Cook said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Labour, Tourism, Science and Innovation justified the exemption with the potential for Black Mountain to build a pipeline that could be the basis for further development of the Canning Basin.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said the regulator issued eight violations in 2022 for alleged greenwashing.

“ASIC will continue to closely monitor sustainability claims and take action when we believe that claims cannot be substantiated or are factually incorrect,” she said.

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Environmental groups also pursue greenwashing lawsuits in court. Santos was sued by the Australasian Center for Corporate Responsibility after it announced it would achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

Santos documents uncovered by the court investigation included descriptions of the Net Zero plan as “speculative,” “nominal,” and “fictitious” by gas company employees.

Pending environmental approval, Black Mountain plans to begin drilling in 2024 and begin early-stage production two years later, according to its recent investor presentation.

Black Mountain was listed at 20 cents a share and is now trading at 3.3 cents.

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https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/kimberley-fracker-fined-for-greenwashing-with-net-zero-claims-20230105-p5cakq.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business Kimberley Fracker fined with net zero claims for greenwashing

Brian Lowry

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