Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the further criminal charges laid against Linc Energy in the Dalby Magistrate’s court today for the widespread contamination of soils in the Hopeland area caused by the company’s nearby controversial underground coal gasification plant.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has announced today that it has filed a fifth charge against the company, which the Government alleges was operating outside the terms of its Environmental Authority approval for the plant.
Lock the Gate President, Drew Hutton, said, "It’s good to see action being taken against a rogue mining company, but we should never ever have gotten into this situation, where farmers are facing devastation of their businesses because of lax compliance and enforcement of mining controls in this state. This dangerous unconventional mining operation operated for six years before any action was taken, and there's going to be a huge clean up bill.
"Our priority now is the community at Hopeland, who have an anxious wait for the results of the individual farm assessments to see if they will ever be able to farm their soil again. The impacts of this contamination are being felt 60 kilometres away. The full force of the law must come down on this company for the damage it’s done.
"But there’s a broader lesson here that Queensland cannot afford to ignore: you’ve got to watch the mining industry like a hawk, have strong enough laws to stop them ruining the land for others, and enough money and powers to stop them breaching their licences before the damage is done.
"There’s unconventional gas mining rolling out in the Darling Downs, and proposed for the Channel Country, and huge and damaging coal mines proposed for the Galilee Basin. How often will the Government get out to Winton and Hughenden to make sure the mining companies are not doing what Linc has done, and flouting the rules? How can Queenslanders have confidence something like this won’t happen again?”