The Queensland Palaszczuk Government must stop Shell/PetroChina joint venture Arrow Energy drilling more coal seam gas wells on Queensland’s Darling Downs and bring its investigation into the company’s allegedly illegal drilling practices to a swift conclusion, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
The Alliance has criticised the Resources Department for taking more than ten months since it began investigating the company over allegations it had illegally drilled beneath farmers’ land near Dalby.
Arrow Energy wants to drill more than 2000 CSG wells across some of Queensland’s best farmland on the Darling Downs as part of its Surat Gas Project.
“Arrow’s expanded CSG plans are only in their early stages on the Darling Downs, but they’re already causing major disruption and suffering among farmers,” said Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith.
“The Palaszczuk Government needs to immediately halt Arrow’s drilling and come clean with what its investigations have found.
“More broadly, there needs to be an independent scientific review into the impact CSG is already having in Queensland.
“We know that more than 700 water bores used by farmers are expected to run dry and old coal exploration holes are acting as conduits to bring gas and salty brine to the surface as a result of CSG.
“We are watching some of the best farmland in Queensland being destroyed in real time by coal seam gas companies. We need to press pause before it’s too late.”
Dalby farmer Zena Ronnfeldt, who was among the first farmers to discover Arrow had drilled horizontally beneath her property from a neighbouring property, said, “We have spreading subsidence to our farm, which is permanently impacting our irrigation water and ability to grow crops. We believe Arrow’s drilling is responsible for this subsidence.
“Our farm is part of the tiny area of Queensland zoned priority agriculture, a limited resource supposedly protected by planning law from damage by Arrow Energy’s gas extraction.
“We’ve made business decisions based on laws put in place to make sure Arrow Energy didn’t trespass on our land or reduce our ability to grow crops. We mistakenly believed those laws would be overseen and enforced properly by the government, instead all we have are endless investigations with no outcomes. We are not seeing any integrity from the government here.”