On 22nd October, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced that he will allow Australia’s 2 largest Coal Seam Gas projects to proceed because he believes that they will not ‘adversely impact upon the environment’ . The conservation sector firmly disagrees and is calling for an overhaul of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to ensure that mining activities are subject to a greater level of scrutiny. It is simply unacceptable that our governments continue to approve mining activities that have not been proven to not impact up the Environment, Agriculture and Community health. The fact that both farmers and environmentalists now stand side by side opposing CCG and UCG projects in the Surat Basin is a strong indication that these types of project should not go ahead and the State and Federal Governments should take heed of that. Cougar Energy’s Underground Coal Gassification (UCG) project near Kingaroy was shut down 2 months ago due to the discovery of carcinogenic chemicals Benzine and Toluene in Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) Monitoring Bores near by. Kingaroy is the ‘Peanut and Navy Bean Capital of Australia’ meaning a large proportion of Peanut Butter and Baked Beans sold around the world have ingredients sourced from the Kingaroy region. If these chemicals are present in the groundwater, even in minor amounts, there is a risk that they may have contaminated both food items that are sold and consumed all over the world. The truth is, even though these CCG projects might create 10,000 jobs, they threaten food security in Australia as the Surat Basin produces vast amounts of Australia’s food for both domestic and export consumption. You decide, what’s more important, profit in the pocket of greedy offshore investors or food in the tummies of Aussie kids?
Federal Environment Department gives green light to CCG in Surat Basin, what’s next?