Since 2008, Anna Bligh’s Queensland Labor Government has encouraged and welcomed the establishment of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) across Queensland with open arms…
“The Queensland Government welcomes the establishment of a new energy industry, which diversifies our State’s fuel mix and capitalises on our state’s extensive coal seam gas (CSG) reserves to meet the growing global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The LNG industry provides Queensland with an exciting opportunity to create new jobs in our regional centres, affected by the recent downturn in resource exports, and increases the potential prosperity of all Queenslanders through greater export revenue and royalty payments.”
.Coal Seal Gas mining permeating across Queensland food bowl and taking water from our precious Artesian Basin
‘Coal Seam Gas (CSG) is a naturally occurring methane gas found in most coal seams and is similar to conventional natural gas. In Australia the commercial production of CSG commenced in 1996 in the Bowen Basin, Queensland. Since then production has increased rapidly, particularly during the first decade of the 21st century. CSG has now become an integral part of the gas industry in eastern Australia, particularly in Queensland.
Information about reserves of CSG has grown significantly, particularly in the Bowen and Surat basins in Queensland. In New South Wales reserves have been proven in the Sydney, Gunnedah, Clarence-Moreton and Gloucester basins. Exploration has been undertaken or is planned to be undertaken in other coal basins including the Galilee, Arckaringa, Perth and Pedirka basins.
A major driver for the growth in CSG was a decision in 2000 by the Queensland Government that required 13% of all power supplied to the state electricity grid to be generated by gas by 2005. That requirement has been increased to 15% by 2010 and 18% by 2020.
CSG reserves have grown to such an extent that a number of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plants have been proposed based on exports from Gladstone, Queensland.’[Source: Geoscience Australia, ^http://www.ga.gov.au/energy/petroleum-resources/coal-seam-gas.html]
The grossly financial wasteful Labor Government in Queensland has become so desperate for new revenue that the promised millions in CGS royalties from this new LNG industry is tantalisingly irresistable to the extent that Queensland farms and environment have become deliberately ignored and railroaded by the Bligh Labor Government.
Bligh’s Labor Government has wasted:
- $2 billion on the Toowoomba water recycling plant, now a white elephant
- $1.1 billion on another rusting desalination plant at Tugun
- $600 million on the failed Traveston Dam plan
- $450 million on the Traveston Crossing plan
- $350 million on Wyaralong Dam, not even connected to the grid
- $283.5 million on the health payroill debacle
- $112 million on Smart Card drivers licenses that aren’t smart
- $7 million a month in government advertising
- $450,000 rental bill for an empty State Government office in Los Angeles
[Ed: This is criminally negligent misappropriation of the entrusted Queensland Treasury]
So with $5 billion in Queenslander taxes squandered by Queensland Labor, no wonder the Bligh Labor Government has been so desperate for the lure of mining royalties.. at any cost including jeopardising the prime agricultural land of the Darling Downs.
The development of energy resources in the Surat Basin (Darling Downs and South West Queensland region) and associated LNG projects in the Gladstone (Fitzroy and Central West Queensland) region is set provide annual royalty returns of over $850 million to the Bligh Labor Government. Bligh is more than happy to send in the corporate miners to undermine the food bowl of Queenslanders and pollute their drinking water by fracking in the process.
As the above LNG Blueprint disloses above, it is all about ” greater export revenue and royalty payments.”…at any cost – social, heritage, environmental. Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh has prrepared to take on the Federal Government over any increase to red tape from its new oversight of the coal seam gas industry.[Source: ‘Queensland Premier Anna Bligh offers coal seam gas industry help on red tape’, by John McCarthy, The Courier-Mail, 20111123, ^http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/bligh-offers-csg-help/story-e6freon6-1226203063565]
.Bligh – new CSG cash royalties .. fracking Queensland in the process
Federal Labor’s Environment Minister Tony Mr Burke has said that Queensland farmers are safeguarded by federal regulations that went much further than those of Queensland.
But in November 2011, confidential advice obtained by The Australian newspaper under Freedom of Information laws, shows that Tony Burke has known about coal-seam gas developments in southern Queensland have serious uncertainties about the impact on groundwater and salinity.
The documents include departmental briefings for Mr Burke’s decision to approve the APLNG project, a joint venture between Origin and Conoco Phillips that involves 10,000 production wells and more than 10,000km of access roads and pipelines.
It is the biggest CSG project ever approved in Australia.Tara (west of Dalby), south east Queensland Coal Seam Gas pipelines now dominate the rural landscape
On the groundwater impact, the advice says Geoscience Australia warned of “high levels of uncertainty in the predicted impacts of CSG developments on groundwater behaviour and on EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) listed ecological communities”. It says that Geoscience Australia believed that “APLNG’s modelling requires further work to fully establish uncertainties”.
The advice to Mr Burke provided in February recommended he approve the $35 billion project because he had approved two smaller projects. This indicates the department has ignored the cumulative effects of these projects on groundwater and water use.[Read More: ‘Tony Burke warned of ‘uncertain’ gas impact on groundwater‘, by Paul Cleary, The Australian, 20111107, ^http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/burke-warned-of-uncertain-gas-impact/story-fn59niix-1226187080366]
Bligh’s Labor Mates in Canberra
14th March, 2012:
‘Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke (Ed: Labor Party) has removed a possible electoral problem for the Bligh government in Queensland by delaying environmental approval for the massive expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in north Queensland until well after the election.
The Queensland government plans to expand Abbot Point, near Bowen and directly beside the Great Barrier Reef, from its current capacity of 50 million tonnes of coal a year to 400 million tonnes, but the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the expansion needs to be approved by the federal government first. The EIS was lodged in December and there is a statutory requirement for the federal minister to respond within 40 working days.
Last week, Mr Burke quietly slipped through an extension of the timeframe until the end of this year, although a hand-written note on the briefing paper written by him states that “I note the decision may still be made earlier than the extended deadline”.
The expansion of Abbot Point is particularly sensitive as the port is right beside the Great Barrier Reef. It is designed to cater for the new coalmining area in the Galilee Basin.
Concerns about possible damage to the reef through a build-up of coal ships passing through the reef have been highlighted in recent days by a visit from UNESCO officers.
Mr Burke’s decision will delay the construction of 12 coal-loading berths at the terminal that have been allocated to six companies, including Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer.’
Coal Seam Gas kills American cattle
Meanwhile, exposure to coal seam gas drilling operations in the United States has been strongly linked to serious health problems in humans, pets, livestock and other animals, a new US study has found. Australian environmentalists say the study shows the need for caution in opening the country up to coal seam gas extraction.
University of Massachusetts researchers interviewed 24 US farmers affected by shale gas drilling and found the practice was “strongly implicated” in serious health problems in humans and animals. In one case, 17 cows died in one hour from respiratory failure after shale gas fracking fluids were accidentally released into an adjacent paddock.
Fracking refers to the controversial method of injecting chemicals, water and sand at high pressures to crack rock and release gas.
On another farm, 70 of 140 cattle exposed to wastewater from fracking died, as did a number of cats and dogs from a neighbourhood where wastewater was spread on roads as a method of disposal.
The study also cites a case in which a child was hospitalised with arsenic poisoning soon after drilling and fracking began near their home. Occupants of another home near gas wells suffered headaches, nosebleeds and rashes, and their hearing and sense of smell was affected.
The study’s authors recommend more research into the effects of shale gas extraction in the US, or a total ban on the practice.
NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham says the study shows the need for caution in the expansion of CSG mining in the state.
“Many of the methods, chemicals and techniques used in US conventional and unconventional gas extraction are the same as those used in Australia with coal seam gas,” he said in a statement.
The National Toxics Network called on Australia’s state governments to conduct a full assessment of the impacts of CSG on animals living close to gas wells.
“We know so little about the long term impacts on the health of wildlife and farm animals of this industry,” the network’s senior adviser Mariann Lloyd-Smith said in a statement.
.[Source: ‘Study warns of CSG health risks‘, AAP, The West Australian, 20120110,^http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/-/business/12542344/study-warns-of-csg-health-risks/]
.‘Centralia’, Pennsylvania (USA) and its 1000 residents the victims of a coal seam mine fire in 1962,which has been burning under the area ever since. The entire town was condemned in 1992 and only a few stragglers are left behind.
Coal Seam Gas poisons cattle in Pennsylvania
‘Stillborn and deformed cows, ponds that turned black and poisoned drinking water. Those are some of the little-reported effects being visited on Pennsylvania in the rush to tap natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, two angry Washington County farmers told about 100 people at a forum in Lancaster city Sunday afternoon.
“This has been nothing but hell for my family and neighbors,” said Ron Gulla, whose farm near Hickory was the second Marcellus Shale well drilled in the state….’. [Read More: ‘2 farmers assail gas drillers at forum‘, 20110515, LancasterOnline.com, ^http://coalseamgasnews.org/2011/2-farmers-assail-gas-drillers-at-forum/]
Back in Queensland, on 30th May 2011, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh unveil the coal seam gas expansion plant at Curtis Island‘New Gas Age’ for Queensland – enthusiastically opened by Bligh
Goodbye beautiful innocent Gladstone
‘Premier Anna Bligh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard herald the ‘new gas age’ as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage plant opens Curtis Island off Gladstone in central Qld.’
Three months later in August 2011, Bligh’s Queensland Government was forced to investige traces of cancer-causing Benzene, toluene and xylene at Arrow Energy’s 14 CSG bores at Tipton West and Daandine gas fields near Dalby.
Benzene, toluene, ethylene and xylene (commonly known as BTEX) were outlawed last October in Queensland for use in fracking, a process used in the CSG industry to split rock seams and extract methane.
.[Source: ‘Carcinogens found in water at coal seam gas site‘, by Kym Agius, 20110829, ^http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/carcinogens-found-in-water-at-coal-seam-gas-site-20110829-1jgxb.html]
Queensland Conservation Community (QCC) on Coal Seam Gas
Expansion of the QLD Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry has been occurring at a very rapid rate over recent years.
While the CSG industry is bringing wealth and jobs to areas like the Surat Basin, the immediate and longterm environmental impacts potentially caused by the industry are largely unmeasured and unchecked. This is mainly due to the rapid growth of the industry outstripping legislative and regulatory frameworks, resulting in an imbalance between the CSG industries, primary production and protecting the environment.
The key environmental issues that QCC is concerned about include:
- Impacts to over and under lying aquifers
- Extraction of substantial volumes of groundwater as part of the CSG extraction process is likely to have a significant impact on over and under lying aquifers, which are connected to coal measures from where gas is extracted.
- Independent scientific assessment must determine that potential impacts to adjacent aquifers can be avoided and managed before CSG projects are approved.
The quality of groundwater in coal seams is generally inferior to that in over- and underlying aquifers. There is a high risk that poorer quality coal seam water will leak into better quality aquifers from the large number of proposed gas wells and poor well management practices.
There is also a high risk of groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing, an industry process used to stimulate gas flows by using chemicals and applied at high pressures to fracture the coal seams.
Many of the chemicals used to fracture the coal seams are toxic and are known to affect human and environmental health.
- Independent scientific assessment must determine that inter aquifer contamination can be avoided and managed before CSG projects are approved
- Hydraulic fracturing must not occur until robust scientific assessment has demonstrated that groundwater contamination can be avoided.
Impacts to springs and groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE)
The scale of potential long-term adverse environmental impacts to springs and groundwater dependent ecosystems caused by CSG extraction is largely unmeasured.
- Impacts to springs and GDE’s must be avoided. Independent scientific assessment must determine that potential impacts to springs and GDE’s can be avoided and remediated if impacts do occur.
- Protecting springs should be achieved by establishing set back distances around springs where CSG activities are prohibited.
- Using CSG water for beneficial purposes
While the Government has introduced regulations requiring CSG companies to treat CSG associated water to ‘fit for purpose’ standards, the potential environmental impacts that could occur from using treated CSG water for different purposes has not yet been fully assessed. The environmental impacts that could occur from using treated CSG water for beneficial purposes includes potential changes to soils chemistry, structure and biota; as well as water quality changes in waterways in areas where CSG water is used.
- CSG water used for a beneficial purpose must match the background environmental water quality conditions of areas where it is being used.
- Using waterways to distribute CSG water
CSG companies are seeking to release treated CSG water to rivers to distribute this water to areas where it will be used for beneficial purposes. As waterways in areas where CSG development is occurring are mostly ephemeral, introducing large volumes of CSG water year round to these waterways will change them from being ephemeral to permanently flowing. This will substantially alter the ecological composition and water quality of waterways, which will potentially cause significant adverse impacts to these aquatic environments. For these reasons, QCC does not support CSG water being introduced to river systems.
- CSG water should not be allowed to enter or be introduced to waterways
Disposal of salt and other contaminants
It is estimated that millions of tonnes of salt and other toxic substances will be produced from CSG operations. Under current arrangements CSG companies can hold untreated CSG water and brine effluent from reverse osmosis water treatment plants in storage ponds, and then dispose of this waste in a variety of ways.
Allowable disposal methods include:
- Creating useable and saleable products,
- Burying residual solid wastes on properties owned by CSG companies or
- By injecting the brine effluent into aquifers with a lesser water quality.
QCC does not support CSG companies being allowed to bury salt on their properties or injecting brine effluent underground due to the inherent environmental risks associated with these disposal methods. A more environmentally safe disposal method that QCC favours is to require CSG companies to rapidly dehydrate the brine effluent using waste heat generated from water treatment power plants; and then either marketing the residual solid waste or burying it in regulated hazardous substance landfill sites.
- Injection of brine effluent into aquifers should not be permitted
- Residual solid waste from CSG water treatment processes should only be disposed into registered hazardous substance landfill sites
- Avoiding good quality agricultural land
The CSG industry is seeking to expand into some of Queensland’s prime agricultural areas. The is likely to effect food and fibre production from impacts to groundwater resources that primary producers depend on.
Along with the impacts to groundwater, it is increasingly evident that the number of roadways, pipelines, brine storage dams and other necessary CSG infrastructure will have a significant impact on farming activities and operations.
- CSG exploration and development must be prohibited on good quality agricultural lands
Avoiding areas of High Ecological Significance (HES)
Under current legislative arrangements, the only tenure of land that is exempt from CSG exploration and development are National Parks. This means that important areas of High Ecological Significance outside of National Parks, such as wetlands, springs, biodiversity corridors and threatened ecological communities, can be degraded by CSG exploration
Although CSG companies are required to offset environmental impacts, it is unlikely that the full extent of environmental impacts caused by the expansion of the CSG industry as a whole can be effectively offset. This will result in an overall net loss of environmental values throughout the areas where CSG development occurs. That must not be allowed to occur.
- CSG exploration and development must be prohibited in areas of HES such as wetlands, springs, biodiversity corridors and threatened ecological communities
- Strategic re-injection of CSG water Estimates indicate that up towards 350,000Ml of groundwater per year could be extracted from coal seams as part of the gas production process.
There are significant concerns about the impacts that may occur to other aquifers that are connected to these coal seams. An effective way to mitigate impacts to over- and underlying aquifers is by strategically re-injecting treated CSG water either back into coal seams or into effected adjacent aquifers.
- Treated CSG water should be re-injected back into coal seams from where it has been extracted or into adjacent aquifers that have been affected by CSG operations
- Moratorium on CSG development
Many of the environmental issues associated with the CSG industry have yet to be satisfactorily addressed. QCC believes that a precautionary approach is needed and is calling for a moratorium to be placed on CSG projects until robust scientific assessment has determined that environmental impacts occurring from CSG operations can be avoided, mitigated and the industry can be managed sustainably.
- moratorium should be placed on CSG development until scientific assessment can demonstrate that environmental impacts can be avoided and mitigated
.[Source: Queensland Conservation Community (QCC), 20101001, ^http://qccqld.org.au/docs/Campaigns/SaveWater/CSG%20Position%20Paper.pdf, >Read Paper 160 kb]
Threats by Coal Seam Gas to Australia’s Artesian Basin
‘The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association acknowledge that CSG extraction has potential to deplete or contaminate local aquifers.
There are many of these in the northern Illawarra that recharge streams, creeks, lakes and dams in the water catchments and coastal plain.
The National Water Commission estimate that the Australian CSG industry will extract around 7,500 gigalitres (GL) of produced water from ground water systems over the next 25 years. To put this in perspective, that’s more than 13 times the capacity of Sydney Harbour. They also note that the potential impacts of CSG development on water systems, particularly the cumulative effects of multiple projects, are not well understood….’
The coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt, with farmers threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies.Organic farmer, Graham Back, at his property west of Dalby, southern Queensland He won’t be rolling out the red carpet for drilling companies [Photo: Cathy Finch Source: The Courier-Mail] [Read article]
Bligh’s gas infatuation is killing Gladstone Harbour
.Aerial views show Gladstone Harbour before and after dredging operations began.
An independent report on Gladstone Harbour is scathing of State Government efforts to discover what is causing major disease problems.
The interim report by fisheries veterinarian and Sydney University lecturer Matt Landos says the Government has failed to adequately monitor animal mortality and used untrained observers despite evidence of a crisis.
Dr Landos says the Government has underestimated turtle deaths, made no baseline study of aquatic animal health before the harbour’s 46 million cubic metre dredging began, made no assessment of acoustic impacts and has not investigated dying coral.
The damning report was paid for by the Gladstone Fishing Research Fund with capital sought from public donations and fishermen.
The port is undergoing major expansion, mostly for the liquefied natural gas industry.The LNG industrial invasion of Gladstone’s Reef World Heritage Harbour ..when political gas royalties outweigh Queensland Nature This will be Bligh’s legacy remembered, not her ‘we are Queenslanders’ spiel. Labor’s mantra: ‘jobs jobs jobs’ – while buggering Australia’s environment and local workers, because Labor jobs mean foreign 457 jobs, where Labor selfishly reaps industrial exploitation royalties as if it were a foreign power. Labor is buggering Queensland’s precious Barrier Reef like it is buggering Queenslanders…all for coal seam gas royalties Why did old Captain Bligh have a cruel reputation? . Where is Bligh’s empathy for Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage?
Former Queensland Seafood Industry Association president Michael Gardner, who helped organise funding, said yesterday that Dr Landos’ findings were at odds with the Government and Gladstone Ports Corporation view, which was that disease was related more to last year’s wet season than dredging.46 million cubic metre dredging of Gladstone Harbour for Coals Seam Gas Killing dugongs, sea turtles and Reef marine life in the process
Environment Department director-general Jim Reeves said it was incorrect that studies had not been done to assess the impact of dredging. He said Fisheries Queensland had been conducting an extensive fish health survey since August last year and studies were continuing.
The department had monitored Curtis Island turtle populations for decades before dredging began and there was no evidence of turtle deaths being underestimated. All fisheries observers were trained scientists and surveys were conducted in April and June.Gladstone now has ‘Exploding Eye’ Barramundi ..thanks Anna
“So far all we have seen from the Bligh government is flawed water quality monitoring, constant assertions that the problems of marine species’ deaths and fish disease have nothing to do with developments in the harbour and the desire to see developments proceed at breakneck speed.”
“The Gladstone Port Corporation’s dredging program is one of the biggest in our history and we need to know if dredging up historic layers of industrial pollutants as well as the acid sulphate soils that are known to be in the area are linked with this catastrophe.”
.Derec Davies, a Friends of the Earth campaigner [Source: ^http://indymedia.org.au/2011/11/09/how-to-use-a-bikelock-to-save-the-great-barrier-reef-protest-halts-gladstone-dredging]
Analysis showed water quality was consistent with historical trends, apart from the impacts of the January 2011 floods.
“There is no crisis for the green turtles and dugong that inhabit the area,” Mr Reeves said.Australia’s Dugong A native Queenslander with Existence Rights has called Gladstone Harbour and its sea grasses home for generations
Dr Landos said he and Dr Ben Diggles had made preliminary observations of fish health, including barramundi.
“In simple terms, all the barramundi captured were quite sick,” he said. “The vast majority, even those with no apparent external skin abnormalities, displayed tucked up abdomens and all were lethargic when handled. I would not recommend human consumption.”
Dr Landos said that despite the fish having no feed in the gut, there were ample baitfish around upon which they could feed. Mullet sampled did not show any external signs of disease. A population of 27 queenfish were sampled near the dredge spoil dumping ground. All had skin organism infestations and 18 had skin redness.
“My findings … would suggest that the 2010 flood is unlikely to be involved in their causation,” Dr Landos said.
At Friends Point in the inner harbour, 17 of 76 crabs sampled had mild to severe shell changes. At Colosseum Inlet, south of the harbour, 12 of 33 crabs showed signs of lesions. Other problems included mangrove dieback, low fish numbers and few signs of juvenile animals. A final report is expected in one to two months.
.[Source: ‘Dredging-report-blasts-authorities‘, The Courier-Mail, ^http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/dredging-report-blasts-authorities/story-e6freoof-1226297658256]
.A dead Dugong - a dead Queenslander in Gladstone Harbour
The ABC TV Four Corners current affairs Program 8th November 2011 aired an in depth report on port developments in Queensland and their impact on The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area.
Watch: ABC Four Corners programme, by Marian Wilkinson and Clay Hichens: Great Barrier Grief