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LNP’S Friday 5pm media release designed to avoid scrutiny

The Queensland Government’s last minute announcement about serious environmental charges was designed to avoid media scrutiny, says the Lock the Gate Alliance.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has charged Linc Energy Limited with allegedly breaching environmental laws, “causing serious environmental harm” on the Darling Downs.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the charges followed a nine-month investigation into the company’s pilot Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla.

Lock the Gate’s national president, Drew Hutton said Minister Powell’s decision to release the statement – devoid of details - on Friday at 5pm was “a cynical act”.

“Releasing this important information at 5pm Friday and on the night a major cyclone was about to hit the state was obviously designed to ensure as few people as possible read about it,” Mr Hutton said.

“This underground coal gasification technology is highly dangerous and the State Government should never have allowed it. Any sensible government would ban it now.”

He called on the government to release all relevant details including what specific damage was done, and where and when it occurred.

Mr Hutton likened the event to one in 2010 when the then state government shut down the Cougar Energy UCG Plant at Kingaroy after it was discovered that local bores had become polluted and poisoned with carcinogenic chemicals.

"The Newman government is allowing dirty and dangerous experiments in Queensland with unsafe technology including UCG, coal seam gas, shale gas and shale oil,” he said.

Australian Electoral Commission records show Linc Energy Limited donated almost $100,000 to the LNP in February, 2012. See:

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