Property Rights Australia Media Release 01-05-15

10 May 2016

Reckless allowing Coal Seam Gas Drilling in Linc USG contamination zones

Queensland farmers in Hopeland, near Chinchilla, are being battered by another round of uncertainty and stress with coal seam gas (CSG) companies approaching landowners to drill despite the Queensland Government declaring the area an Excavation Caution Zone.

Property Rights Australia (PRA) is now urgently calling on the Queensland Government to place a CSG moratorium on the area to prevent further environmental damage, ensuring ongoing court cases are not compromised and to protect the local farming families.

PRA Chairman Mr Dale Stiller said in February 2015 the Queensland Government identified a 320 square kilometre Excavation Caution Zone (ECZ) at Hopeland as having dangerous combustible gases in the soil profile as a result of the nearby Linc Energy underground coal gasification (UCG) plant.

According to the independent scientific report by Gilbert and Sutherland, it has been established that Linc Energy UCG project has caused contamination mobilised in the soil and underground water, acidification of the soil and extensive fracturing of the landform.

“Landowners were told not to dig more than two meters without notification because of dangerous combustible gases in the soil profile,” he said.

“The Queensland government paid multiple millions for the expert scientific consultant’s report that clearly states that this is a very serious contamination event. The Palaszczuk government has banned underground coal gasification (UCG) and they have committed Linc Energy to trial on five charges of severe environmental harm.”

Mr Stiller said the area could be one of Australia’s biggest, environmental contaminations and yet CSG companies still had active leases over the area and were approaching landowners to drill for coal seam gas.

“Allowing CSG at this juncture is reckless and goes against common sense and justice for the Hopeland farmers,” Mr Stiller said.

“Premier Palaszczuk apply your government’s own science. If landowners are advised not to dig more than two meters, why allow in CSG rigs to drill?

“The Hopeland farming families are already under considerable stress with declining property values and an uncertain future. To add the highly stressful and time-consuming process to now negotiate with a CSG company is not acceptable.

“Apply a CSG moratorium for the Hopeland Excavation Caution Zone now.”