web analytics

Minister should do the health study before making claims about safety

The Queensland Greens say that the results of the state government’s audit of gas wells is a little too convenient for the government and the gas companies.

Mining minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, today released results from an audit of 2719 wells which showed 98% of well heads were not leaking.

Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said that the audit had been commissioned because groups such as the Western Downs Alliance had been able to provide evidence to the television media of leaking wells and bores which could be set alight.

‘Last year local residents commenced their own testing of wells around Tara and found thirty-nine out of 40 were leaking.

‘In the face of much public criticism from farmers, residents, environment groups and the Greens, the companies managed to lift their standards and prepared for the government audit which did not cover all wells (currently estimated at about 4,000.)

‘The problem for the community will come when there are 40,000 wells across the Surat Basin.

‘It will be beyond the resources of the Queensland Government to constantly monitor this many wells.

‘Even with this show pony standard of well maintenance, we would be looking at an average of 510 leaking well heads across the Surat Basin by 2020.

‘The government keeps boasting about its exceptional regulation of the industry but the fact is that they have surrendered all rational planning to the mining and gas sectors and the industry is only being kept honest because of community opposition.

‘We live on the driest inhabited continent and parts of the Surat Basin such as the Tara estate which is heavily wooded have a recent history of bushfires.

‘As well as the fire risk, the government should have undertaken a comprehensive health assessment before allowing gas and coal mines to take over rural towns, residential estates and farms.

‘The medical evidence regarding the detrimental health effects of living near coal mines is extensive.

‘All the signs from the United States where coal seam gas has been developed for some years is that leaking gas wells are every bit as problematic for human health.

‘If the gas and mining companies are so sure that their activities are so safe then they should support an independent public health impact investigation.

‘With such evidence to hand it should be an easy rational process to determine whether gas wells should be in residential estates or anywhere they are likely to put the water supply at risk.

‘But no, they have a rip it up and ship it out mentality and the residents of the Surat Basin will be the guinea pigs in an uncontrolled public health experiment.’

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2017, Action on Coal and Gas