APPEA fudges report on groundwater impacts

Published: August 04, 2011

Statements released today by the industry body for coal seam gas, APPEA, on the groundwater impacts of CSG are not an accurate representation of an original report.

Spokesperson Ross Dunne stated the study commissioned by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) shows the coal seam gas industry will have little impact on either the Great Artesian Basin or aquifers relied on by agriculture.

Spokesperson for the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, said this was a willful misinterpretation of the original study which was a desktop study based on data from two years ago.

The USQ academic supervising the study has contradicted the APPEA claim saying, "While there was little difference in the drawdown of the high and low water scenarios, it would be incorrect to suggest that this could be interpreted as there being little impact on the Great Artesian Basin…For a conclusion to be made, further studies would be needed."

"This is APPEA playing free and easy with the truth," Mr Hutton said.

"The USQ report is is a desktop study on data which is already out of date and which says nothing more than there is not likely to be much difference on groundwater levels whether the various companies extract water at the high end of expectations or the low end.

"It does not say there will be little impact and anyway, the work has not been done on inter-aquifer inter-connectedness to be confident of predicting with accuracy the extent of these drawdowns.

"This information is still a long way off."

The USQ report (p. 42) makes it clear there is much further work that needs to be done before we can be sure what the impacts on groundwater are likely to be,

"This reinforces our contention that the Bligh government is allowing a giant, risky, uncontrolled experiment on the Queensland environment.

"This is nothing more than the coal seam gas industry going into panic mode and wanting to distract public attention away from their admission that their activities will impact on other aquifers," Mr Hutton said.

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