The toxic experiment of underground coal gasification (UCG) must be banned following disturbing evidence about its impacts to humans and the environment was uncovered today.
The ABC released details of serious health effects suffered by government departmental workers who were sent to investigate leaks at Linc Energy’s experimental UCG plants near Chinchilla, at the Western Downs.
Locals are furious that the results of a State Government report will not be released to them until next month.
Shay Dougall of the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group said: “We are disgusted that we were living 24/7 with the UCG nightmare and have been complaining to the government about it for the last three years. We're told the government investigators became sick, but what about the landholders who have lived with this toxic mix constantly?
“The department still thinks we should not be told the results until September - that’s gross negligence and an utter cover-up.
“The contaminants are still there and we are being subjected to them on a daily basis. We’d like to know when this mess is going to be cleaned up and what sort of management of the landholders' health and safety is being undertaken and what compensation we can expect for this unsafe experiment.
"The same landholders that have had to deal with threat of contamination are being bullied by Origin to give them access to drill holes and further interact with the contamination. Why is the government allowing this very productive community to be hung out to dry?"
Lock the Gate Alliance’s Drew Hutton said UCG should be banned immediately and called for an urgent investigation of possible contamination from the Carbon Energy's UCG plant, near Kogan at the Downs which was supposedly decommissioned but was seen flaring last month.
“Five years ago I warned the State Government that it should not allow UCG in Queensland because of its potential for serious contamination.
“They went ahead anyway and now we are left with the toxic legacy of this industry.
“This dangerous experiment should never have been started and it should be immediately banned around Australia.
“Coal seam gas is similarly experimental and is impacting people on a daily basis. It should also be banned until both the federal and state governments can prove unequivocally that it’s completely safe.