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Good waste policy undermined by coal seam gas mining

The Queensland Greens today used the opportunity to appear before the state parliament’s Environment, Agriculture, Resources and Energy Committee to object to provisions in a new Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill which will allow treated coal seam gas mining water to be released to Queensland waterways including those which provide drinking water supplies.

‘The clauses have been included as emergency provisions but what sort of emergency would require permission to release csg water for 12 months?’ state spokesperson Libby Connors asked following her appearance.

‘The Queensland Greens agree with the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee: an emergency might allow for 7 days release, not a year’s.

‘We are concerned that this is a new way for the industry to evade Queensland’s environment laws.

‘The Queensland Government has promised strict environmental regulation and that should include no Environment Approvals to drill in areas such as floodplains and subject to climate variability such as droughts and floods that would require anything like these kinds of releases.

‘This is just like the Central Queensland coal miners who keep demanding the right to release contaminated pit water into the Fitzroy River system because of supposedly 1 in a 100 year floods.

‘The only problem is that area of Queensland has had flooding for the last 3 summers and we do not know what the long-term effects of these volumes of polluted water will be on river ecology and Keppel Bay.

‘Floods and droughts are natural and have to be factored into any CSG approvals before drilling commences.’

The Greens state that there should be no state government approvals for water releases until full public health studies have been carried out.

‘We supported the original drafts of the Bill which include sound principles for waste avoidance and recycling and will bring Queensland into a national framework for waste management.

‘It is so disappointing to see these good principles undermined by new provisions designed to facilitate an industry that is going to produce immense amounts of toxic waste – the very antithesis of what this Bill is about.

‘I will be alerting our Australian Greens senators to the risks these parts of the Bill pose to the health of the Murray-Darling and all downstream users.’

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