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Voices from the Gaslands – George’s story

Chinchilla cotton farmer George Bender is about to lose two of his precious underground water bores.

The bores are being sucked dry by the activities of the coal seam gas industry and the gas companies are supposed to make good the loss.

But so far George has heard no concrete plan for the replacement of his bores and he is worried.

His bores are among 85 in the Walloon Coal Measures that are predicted to run dry by mid next year as a direct result of the CSG industry.

A further 528 bores will also be impacted in the longer term.

Not content with taking his water the gas companies also want to put up to 18 gas wells on George’s land.

The planned wells will be placed throughout his property and he fears they will interfere with the running of his farm.

Automated machinery used in the production of the cotton will need to be repeatedly recalibrated to cater for the adhoc placement of the wells meaning

potential economic loss and production downtime.

George said the cards seemed stacked in favour of the resources industry with landholders left to suffer the impacts of coal seam gas exploration and mining with little recourse and few rights.

“You’ve got to agree to their terms or else. I just reckon its just all one sided for the resources companies,” George said.

“It will completely interfere with the running of the property but that doesn’t seem to matter as long as they get wells in and get the gas out of the ground, that’s what matters.

“We’ll be living in a gas field, it’s as simple as that.”