Federal cave-in on gas restrictions

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Federal cave-in on gas restrictions

Postby HVPA_research » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:36 pm

First there was macho Mr. Burke issuing 300 conditions for the Queensland coal seam gas export projects. Then Ms. Tanna threatened that the BG Group will walk away. Then the Minister for Environment caved-in. Federal cave-in on gas restrictions

Friends of the Earth activist Drew Hutton doubted all the conditions would be enforced.
"Queensland has a long history of non-enforcement of environmental regulation with regard to the mining industry which, basically, regulates itself," he said. "This industry is too big and too powerful to be effectively regulated."

Documents tabled in Federal Parliament last week show that at least one of the three projects approved had raised its own concerns about shallow groundwater contamination from salt ponds and chemical and fuel storage sites associated with processing plants.

There have also been warnings that underground acquifers would be so depleted by the projects that it could take centuries to replenish them.

The National Water Commission estimates the CSG industry would extract about 7500 gigalitres of water during the next 25 years - six times the capacity of Wivenhoe Dam.

"If not adequately managed and regulated, it risks having significant, long-term and adverse impacts on adjacent surface and groundwater systems," the NWC said.

On the BG approval, Mr Bourke said all proponents were given a chance to comment on the proposed decision before the final ruling is made.

Incidentally, it is very hard to find what these 300 conditions actually are. As of today,4 Dec 2010, there is nothing concrete on Tony Burk's Ministerial website http://www.environment.gov.au/ . The following link is just about the best source that could be found after two hours of searching the Internet. The real question is why these 300 conditions are so hard to find and not made available to general public?Coal seam gas projects given go ahead

Mr Burke said he had requested advice from Geoscience Australia while his department prepared the 300 conditions to be imposed on each of the two projects.

“I have imposed more than 300 strict conditions each on the Santos and Queensland Gas Company coal seam gas projects to help protect groundwater-dependent species and minimise other environmental impacts,” he said.

The companies will be requested to submit management plans for aquifers, groundwater and surface water.

“Water pressure must be maintained above conservative thresholds. If those thresholds are exceeded, the companies must have plans ready to re-establish pressure,” he said.

This meant re-injecting water supplies back into underground water storage systems, he said.

Even this little bit of information casts some doubt on the whole enterprise. The Minister mentions another unproven technology, water re-injections as a solution for the CSG water problems. In the end the best summary was provided in the Comments to this article:

The fact is that even though the Governments have stipulated 300 conditions (wouldn't that tell you that all is not well) they will not have the staff to police these conditions. They will probably have the audacity to allow the Proponents to self regulate. While this industry may have been in the area for a period of years, it is in a miniscule amount compared to what will be needed for the LNG export industry. The Companies and Government will never admit they are wrong. We all knew that when Peter Garrett announced a delay in approval, it was only a tactic to gain the Greens approval before the Election. The EIS process is a sham - pipes for the LNG industry are being unloaded as we speak. While we know that Companies have to spend a certain amount of dollars to do feasibility studies and to the ordinary citizen it appears huge dollars, they would not spend the money purchasing SPECIALLY made pipes prior to the go ahead from the Government. Obviously they had it in writing to go ahead long before this announcement today. The only reason that the conditions are put on the companies is to be able to say "we have STRICT EIS PROCESSES" We all know that we need jobs and energy but we also need food because without food jobs mean nothing. It has come to the situation where the general public can have absolutely no confidence in the Government processes. I am sure that no one would have objected in the first place if the Queensland Government had shown leadership instead of being greedy little people.
cracow | gladstone - October 22, 2010, 5:55PM



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