A new international soil science report demonstrates how coal seam gas-induced subsidence is threatening farmers’ ability to grow crops on Queensland’s Western Downs.
The EOS Data Analytics report analyzes historic and recent satellite imagery to determine the level of moisture in the soil, its condition, and the state of vegetation growth.
The report focuses on satellite imagery of Kupunn farmer Zena Ronnfeldt’s paddock, and shows where water has pooled in sunken areas that used to be flat since nearby CSG extraction began.
Mrs Ronnfeldt said CSG-induced subsidence led to the paddock becoming so boggy, it prevented the planting of crops in the area.
“Last year we completely missed our winter crop in that paddock as a direct result of the sunken areas caused by Arrow Energy’s CSG mining. The wheat we couldn’t grow should have value-added through our economy into more than one million loaves of bread with a retail value of about $4.5 million,” she said.
“The government really doesn’t care, it acts as the puppet of gas companies by doing all it can to help foreign-owned Arrow Energy, which doesn’t pay any income tax, to cover up the extent of the permanent damage the CSG project will cause, while enabling Arrow to avoid paying compensation to farmers like us.
“Our finite prime agricultural land is being squandered, leaving farmers like us who have received no compensation from anybody, and future generations, to pay the cost.”
Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland coordinator Ellie Smith said, “The Queensland Gasfields Commission finally, reluctantly acknowledged that coal seam gas extraction was causing the state’s best farmland to sink last year.
“This report goes some way to validating farmers’ concerns, after they were gaslighted by government and industry for years.
“The Queensland Palaszczuk Government can no longer ignore this critically important issue. Coal seam gas extraction is causing Queensland’s best farmland to sink, and severely hampering farmers’ ability to grow crops.
“At the bare minimum, the Palaszczuk Government must prevent any more coal seam gas drilling that will impact prime agricultural land, in order to preserve it for future generations.”