Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Greens call for a moratorium on coal seam gas

Posted by Jim on May 23, 2011

Yesterday’s accident at Arrow Energy’s gas well near Dalby, where a coal seam gas well exploded, is another incident which should tell the Bligh Government to suspend coal seam gas extraction [CSG] in Queensland immediately.

Coal seam gas exploration wells have been drilled in the Mary Valley near Munna Creek not far from Gympie. We suspect that exploration drilling along the Coondoo Creek near Wolvi is likewise for CSG.

CSG extraction is highly risky for health, water resources and farm production as we have seen in Gaslands, 4Corners and in events on the Darling Downs, such as the fourth well explosion at Arrow Energy near Dalby:

CSG well blow-out near Dalby

Greens leader, Bob Brown, last year criticised the Federal Government for not considering the impacts of CSG on prime food producing land.

The Mary Valley, Darling Downs and the South Burnett are all rich food producing areas that must be protected.

In calling for a moratorium on CSG – a principle that must apply to the intentions of coal miners to turn the Mary Valley into a Queensland version of the environmentally damaged Hunter Valley – Bob Brown said the Australian Greens will move to amend federal laws to add climate and coal seam gas triggers to the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, so the cumulative impacts of this new industry are properly considered before approval is given.

With Queensland Green Senator-elect, Larissa Waters, due to take her seat in a few weeks together with a number of other new Greens senators, the Greens will be in a position to strengthen calls to suspend CSG extraction. Meanwhile, Wide Bay Federal MP and leader of the National Party remains silent about protecting the Mary Valley from coalmining and CSG. Likewise there is deafening silence from Gympie State MP, David Gibson, who actually voted against a moratorium in the State parliament on 24 November last year, voting with the Bligh Labor Government [see Hansard for 24 November, p. 4287]. This is what Mr Gibson voted for:

That this House:
• notes that the CSG industry has been operating successfully in Queensland for at least 10 years;
• acknowledges the extensive laws and regulations that the CSG industry is now subject to in Queensland;
• recognises the substantial benefits that will accrue to rural and regional Queensland from the development of this industry;
• supports the ongoing development of a sustainable CSG/LNG industry in Queensland; and
• supports the adaptive management regime in place to ensure the ongoing monitoring of the environment.

It was a sell-out of the farming sector, rural communities the environment, the Artesian Basin and our grandchildren’s future. Mr Gibson, who made a speech in Parliament opposing the Traveston Dam, by his silence does not seem to think that coalmining and CSG extraction will be as damaging – if not more so – to the Mary River as the proposed dam.

The Greens opposed Traveston Dam and Bob Brown articulated the Greens’ concerns about the degradation of the river that would have occurred from the dam. His comments apply equally to mining along the Mary River and its tributaries:

 

For more on coal and coal seam gas visit Action on Coal and Gas,a project of the Rural and regional Greens.

Jim McDonald, Wide Bay Greens spokesperson, 24 May 2011

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