Lock the Gate Alliance is calling for an extension of a coal seam gas no-go zone above the former Linc underground coal gasification site on the Western Downs after former Linc staff raised serious concernsnew CSG developments could spread contamination.
Arrow Energy plans to drill CSG wells across 2,500 km² of land in the Western Downs, including on two new petroleum licences granted this year that sit above and near the former Linc underground coal gasification site.
One of the environmental authorities granted to Arrow prohibits CSG drilling within 10km of the Linc site due to the risk of mobilising the “existing contamination” but the second authority does not, and instead only requires groundwater monitoring.
Worryingly, a number of CSG wells have already been drilled by other gas companies including Origin and QGC within a 10km radius of the Linc contamination site, and landholders now fear this may have already spread the contamination.
Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said comments from the Linc UCG experts turned whistleblowers showed the government needed to act and ban all coal seam gas drilling that had the potential to spread contamination from the Linc site.
“Linc’s foray into underground coal gasification is a total environmental disaster that will take decades and many millions of taxpayer dollars to fix,” she said.
“These whistleblowers have accused the Government of ignoring repeated warnings that chemicals such as BTEX in groundwater could spread to the south and south-west of the contaminated site. By signing off on CSG production nearby, the Government shows a flagrant disregard for the dangers.
“Allowing CSG wells to be sunk at the site is totally unacceptable given the potential risk of contamination to underground water and land.
“The State Government must listen to the experts and protect the people and environment in this area, otherwise the clean up bill for taxpayers and the impact on the environment will continue to worsen.”