Sneaky change could allow risky ‘tight gas’ extraction in Queensland

The Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA) is calling on the Government to reject QGC’s application to amend an existing Environmental Authority for its Wandoan Project which would allow it to start extensively fracking to extract ‘tight gas’ in Queensland.

Basin Sustainability Alliance chair David Hamilton said tight gas and shale gas extraction, had been fraught with problems in other countries. Both these could get the go ahead thanks to this loophole.

“We understand that extracting commercial quantities of shale or tight gas requires techniques like horizontal drilling, extensive fracking and pumping acids into the well to dissolve the cements between rock grains.”

“For QGC to apply for an amendment of this magnitude with no risk assessment, no transparency, and no opportunity for public comment, is a major concern to us.

“We do not wish to scaremonger, however, the doubts surrounding these kind of activities should be enough of a reason for our Government to at least assess environmental and health risks before giving this practice a tick of approval in our state. Each different resource mining practice requires a separate environmental assessment.”

Mr Hamilton said he was concerned about how regularly EAs were being amended and worried about what other risky activities might be sneaking past without proper scrutiny.

“Unless you wade your way through every amended EA and compare the original EA to the new EA and try and identify all the changes, it is impossible to keep track of what changes are being let through.  If you take the month of March for example, there were at least 15 new or amended EAs over the month – that equates to one every two days.  One wonders if they are getting the full environmental examination required.”

Earlier this month the lack of appropriate environmental conditioning and monitoring of resource projects in Queensland was highlighted in the Auditor General’s report on “Environmental regulation of the resources and waste industries”.

“The Auditor General’s report validated things we have been saying to the Government for over four years.  We have written to the Premier and to Minister Powell to ask for them to take this report seriously and apply much tighter environmental scrutiny to the CSG industry, Mr Hamilton said.