Coal seam gas on fire on Darling Downs

Published: August 20, 2012

The methane burning on a property near Arrow Energy’s Daandine gas field near Dalby, Queensland is undoubtedly the result of coal seam gas operations in the area.

Methane is emerging through a large crack in the ground at Daandine and has set fire to a nearby paddock.

Lock the Gate Alliance President Drew Hutton said attempts by Arrow to blame the methane leak on the nearby 30 year-old Wilkie Creek coal mine are pathetic and defy common sense.

“The coal seam gas industry can always come up with reasons why they are not to blame for these incidents but none of this was happening before the companies began de-watering and de-pressurising the coal seams on the Western Darling Downs,” Mr Hutton said.

“In the last few weeks we have seen the Condamine River bubbling like a spa bath along a 15 kilometre stretch of the river with a coal seam gas field nearby.

“Then, we have people on the Tara residential estate, in the middle of a gas field, complaining of chronic headaches, nose bleeds, ear bleeds and skin rashes while, at the same time, smelling ‘rotten egg gas’.

“Methane and other gases will be liberated from the coal seam aquifer when that aquifer is de-watered as it has been at Tara-Chinchilla and at Daandine. It will then find whatever pathways it can. If some of these pathways are cracks and fissures in the ground, the gas will find its way to the surface and this is undoubtedly what is happening.

“I have seen similar incidents in my recent visit to the United States where local communities are permanently evacuated because methane was coming up through cracks in the ground.”

Mr Hutton called on communities everywhere that are threatened by coal seam gas development to look closely at what is happening on the Western Downs and think carefully about whether or not they want this industry in their areas.

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