Very high levels of hippuric acid, a metabolite of the toxic chemical toluene, have been found in the urine of a 3 year-old child living on the Tara residential estate in Queensland.
The Tara estate, south of the town of Chinchilla, is in the middle of the most intensively developed coal seam gas field in Australia.
Experts from the National Toxics Network, Doctors for the Environment and others have been warning for some time of possible health impacts from contaminants in water, air and soil coming from coal seam gas activities and concerning levels of several of these chemicals have been found in air sampling on the Tara estate.
Scientists from Southern Cross University also recently found high levels of methane, carbon dioxide and concerning levels of radon in air samples taken in the district and US authorities are increasingly linking high air pollution levels to unconventional gas field activities.
Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said it was time for the coal seam gas industry and the Queensland Government to take responsibility for what was happening to residents, move those who wished to leave and compensate them justly for the suffering caused.Read more
The discovery of methane gas bubbling up through the Nepean River as a result of underground coal mining should trigger urgent action by the NSW Government to protect rivers and catchments from mining, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
BHP Billiton subsidiary Illawarra Coal has admitted that the methane vent is caused by long-wall mining panels which form part of its Appin West coal mine.
“The underground mines south of Sydney have been allowed to mine far too close to important rivers and water supplies like the Nepean River,” said Drew Hutton, national campaigner with Lock the Gate Alliance.Read more
It is becoming ever more urgent for residents of the Tara residential estate to be re-located and compensated for the health effects they are experiencing from the activities of surrounding coal seam gas companies.
Evidence collected from the Gasfield Community Support Group at Tara indicates there are members of 26 families in the area who have complained of symptoms such as nose bleeds, chronic headaches and burning eyes and they blame the coal seam gas activities in the area for these.
Local doctors have supported their claims.
Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said if the company was not prepared to buy out residents at a fair price, then the State Government should look at closing down the Tara-Chinchilla gas fields until a proper, and genuinely independent, investigation of fugitive emissions had been undertaken.Read more
Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, will be visiting and participating in the blockade at Glenugie, near Grafton, with coal seam gas company Metgasco about to force its way onto a property.
About 100 local residents and their supporters from across the region today refused company representatives entry to the site. A small number of police were on hand.
Mr Hutton said he expected the company to attempt to enter the site in the morning with more drilling equipment and accompanied by a larger police presence.
Mining company Hume Coal, partly owned by Korean company POSCO, will be in the Land and Environment Court today attempting to use legal force to barge its way onto rich farmland to explore for coal in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Lock The Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said the case epitomises the severe threat which mining poses to agriculture, heritage values, water resources and rural communities across Australia.
POSCO is seeking to enforce access along a private road so that its drilling rig can explore for coal at Sutton Forest.
The area is part of the drinking water catchment for Sydney which provides water for 4 million people.Read more