Anti-gas group keeps Condamine issue bubbling away

Dayne Pratzky lights methane from the Condamine River.
Dayne Pratzky lights methane from the Condamine River.

ENVIRONMENTAL group Lock the Gate Alliance doesn't want the issue of gas in the Condamine River to bubble away quietly in the corner.

President Drew Hutton said it was outrageous that the Queensland Government, the coal seam gas industry and science body CSIRO were content to admit they don't know what was causing the Condamine River to bubble, despite admitting that the bubbling had intensified in the last 12 months, as reported by news agencies.

Bubbling gas in the Condamine River near Chinchilla was reported in 2012, triggering a series of investigations.

But the Government has reportedly said it does not have sufficient information to identify the cause of the seeps.

Mr Hutton said it was extraordinary that the government was sitting on its hands, talking about 'long term' investigations, and doing nothing to curtail CSG mining which is undoubtedly the most likely culprit.

"The most likely cause of the bubbling of the Condamine is undoubtedly the depressurisation of the coal seams by CSG mining, allowing large quantities of gases to be mobilised.  The fact this phenomena is occurring now, following hot on the heels of CSG development, is no coincidence," Mr Hutton said.

"The bubbling could mean big trouble for the residents and landholders of the Western Downs but neither the State Government, the CSG industry nor apparently anyone in the CSIRO is any hurry to properly investigate what is actually occurring in the Condamine River.

"The fact it has taken the community to expose this problem initially, and now to show that it is intensifying, indicates a blatant unwillingness by any of the relevant authorities to undertake a meaningful investigation.

"It's farcical for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines to be saying 'we don't know why it's happening' and further investigation is needed. The Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham should be kicking heads about their attitude because the future of the Condamine River is at stake.

"The crisis with the Condamine highlights the serious risk of extensive migratory gas emissions caused by CSG mining, which also have the potential to represent a serious health risk on the Western Downs.

"The government should have demanded independent air quality monitoring on the Western Downs five years ago so we could really discover whether or not local people's health is at risk."



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