The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has issued QGC with an Environmental Protection Order for its Kenya Gas Project, located near Chinchilla, which confirms complaints by the community about the severe noise nuisance caused by the Kenya Gas Processing Plant and associated infrastructure.
The EPO states its purpose is to secure compliance with the noise conditions of QGC’s environmental authority. It states maximum penalties for failing to comply with the EPO are $3.8 million for a corporation and $761,875 for an individual, and this appears to be the first of its kind applied to coal seam gas operators in Queensland.
The EPO is based on the valid complaints of residents, supported by the Department’s own noise monitoring to prove that QGC is breaching the noise limits set down in its Environmental Authority, with the Kenya Central Processing Plant the dominant cause.
It has taken 4 years and more than 32 formal complaints by the Nothdurft family, plus paying to conduct their own noise monitoring, to finally secure action requiring QGC to control the noise destroying their lives.
Nood Nothdurft, who has borne the brunt of the noise from the plant impacting severely on his family and their ability to sleep and live a quality life, said that their concerns have been vindicated.
“This EPO shows that our fears and concerns at being forced to live in an industrial gasfield are genuine and that the so-called ‘robust regulation’ which the CSG industry is always talking doesn’t actually exist, at least not in our case.
“By serving this EPO the Department is showing that extensive noise monitoring conducted by QGC itself does not stack up, and QGC’s original ‘modelling’ which was meant to show it could comply with the noise limits doesn’t stack up, either. This also reinforces our concerns regarding other impacts such as atmospherics contamination and water impacts.
“We’ve had to live with severe noise disruption and with QGC telling us they were within their limits for the last 4 years. They have repeatedly refused to listen to our concerns” he said.
This latest development follows a recent article where whistleblower Simone Marsh claims that government assessment of Queensland Gas Company projects was rushed and unlawful.
The excessive noise and the unreliable monitoring and modelling of noise, are practical examples of her concerns playing out in real life for affected communities.