Stateline Interview: Mining Contamination Shock
Six Degrees spokesperson Drew Hutton appeared yesterday on Stateline to outline the reasons for our call for an end to Queensland's dangerous experiments with coal seam gas and underground coal gasification. As Mr Hutton says in this interview, "our beautiful state is in the process of being wrecked and turned into an industrial waste land by government irresponsibility."
Environmentalists demand a halt to coal seam gas and gasification mining.
JESSICA van VONDEREN: It's supposed to be a cleaner, greener way to convert coal into energy. Underground coal gasification or UCG is being trialled at three sites in Queensland.
But one company near Kingaroy has been ordered to shut down its operations after low levels of carcinogenic chemicals were detected in an aquifer. The State Government's stressed the town's drinking supplies have NOT been contaminated but testing is now underway on bores on rural properties in a two kilometre radius around the plant.
For environmentalists like Drew Hutton this incident is a wakeup call. The State Government has set up a scientific panel to assess the environmental impacts of UCG and decide whether the pilot projects should continue.
DREW HUTTON, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: The government was warned two years ago by environmentalists that this was likely to happen, that underground coal gasification is a dirty filthy technology, there's no place for it in Queensland.
The whole UCG industry needs to be closed down shut down right now. We've known from overseas examples that this is the sort of thing that will happen all the time. So, it just should be shut down. No second thoughts about it.
The other thing we need to do though, the government needs to just call a halt, they need to have a moratorium on all gas development because this is a dangerous technology, but other forms of gas mining are also dangerous and highly threatening to the environment.
So a moratorium on all gas development till we know what the impacts are likely to be and how they might be addressed.
There is deep anger in the bush that the Queensland government has allowed this uncontrolled experiment called the gas industry whether it's underground coal gasification or coal seam gas to go ahead without proper checks, without proper impact statements, without our really knowing what it's going to do to the Queensland environment and our great farming land.
So our beautiful state is in the process of being wrecked and turned into an industrial waste land by government irresponsibility.
Source: ABC Stateline Queensland. 16th July, 2010.