Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes Arrow Energy’s decision to ditch plans to drill hundreds of coal seam gas (CSG) wells in the zone immediately surrounding the Linc Energy Underground Coal Gasification disaster site at Hopeland near Chinchilla.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science this afternoon confirmed via email the company had abandoned plans to drill the 286 coal seam CSG wells within 10km of the site.
The Linc Energy contamination disaster was previously described as the “biggest pollution event in Queensland's history” by now Deputy Premier Steven Miles.
Arrow’s latest decision comes after an independent study revealed an ongoing risk of contamination, should the gasfield have been built. That study contradicted claims by Arrow that it could safely drill in the area.
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Ellie Smith said it was pleasing science had prevailed in this instance.
“It’s not often gasfields are stopped in Queensland, so it’s certainly encouraging to see Arrow will not proceed with its risky proposal that would have meant 286 coal seam gas wells were drilled in the vicinity of the UCG disaster site,” she said.
“But it should not take Queensland’s worst environmental disaster to stop risky and polluting unconventional gasfields. All new gas projects should be exposed to the same level of scrutiny as this project was.
“We have already lost too much land and water to invasive gasfields, with more than 8000 CSG wells now pockmarking land from the Western Downs to the Central Highlands.
“We know that since CSG began its march across the Darling Downs, more than 120 water bores have already run dry in Queensland due to the industry.
“Recent research shows Queensland’s coal seam gasfields are responsible for creating more methane - a potent global warming gas - than previously thought.
“Arrow’s behemoth Surat Gas Project continues to create angst and frustration for farmers who are battling it in other parts of the region.
“At the very least, the Queensland Palaszczuk Government must stop releasing huge swathes of new land to this industry until its full impacts can be understood.”