Plans by Origin to move in and start CSG drilling in the area contaminated by Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification project has alarmed landholders, who have called for the Qld Government to step in and halt drilling.
After catastrophic failure of the Linc Energy project, an ‘excavation caution zone’ was put in place by the Qld Government across 300,000ha of land when elevated levels of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide were recorded in soils.
Many landholders have been told they are not allowed to dig deeper than 2m within the caution zone, yet Origin Energy is preparing to enter and drill gas wells right through the area.
Linc Energy is facing five criminal counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm, and the company entered administration earlier this year. The Qld Government recently placed a ban on underground coal gasification (UCG) across the State.
“We are calling on the Queensland Government to put a halt on any CSG drilling in the Hopeland area until they can be absolutely certain it will not exacerbate the contamination that has already occurred or put our land and water at greater risk” said local farmer, Helen Bender.
“There should be no CSG drilling here until the prosecution of Linc Energy has been completed and the CSG industry can be proven to be entirely safe.
“Landholders like us are devastated that Origin drillers are planning to move into the area in the middle of the cotton harvest, despite the legacy of far-reaching contamination that we are already dealing with from Linc Energy.
“This is the latest blow to our farming community, who are dealing with a trifecta of damage from the risky CSG industry with the full support of the Qld Government.
“First it was Linc Energy and the toxic gas emissions from UCG; next is the Condamine River bubbling like a spa bath and releasing so much methane it can be set on fire, with a recent, shocking video viewed by 4.5 million viewers on social media.
“Lastly we have witnessed the unprecedented spewing of water and gas out of a growing number of water bores as CSG companies like Origin Energy and QGC deliberately dewater the groundwater aquifers.
“We have three serious ongoing environmental disasters from unconventional gas operations here at Chinchilla and the Queensland State Government say they have no idea what is going on geologically.”