Posted: June 13, 2012 by lesg2n in Rural Events, Social Issues

By Les White


CONCERNS over coal seam gas continue to grow as methane bubbles up into Queensland’s Condamine River.

Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton says methane leaks have been detected near coal seam gas wells.

Video shot by anti-CSG group Lock the Gate shows gas bubbling to the surface of the river, which is also used as drinking water for nearby town Chinchilla.

The river is near several CSG wells.

Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton said a local landowner had told the group Origin Energy had confirmed the leak was CSG, otherwise known as coal bed methane, and was testing to see which coal seam the gas was coming from.

“I don’t think there is any doubt this extensive leak is linked to the coal seam gas drilling, and probably fracking (fracturing coal seams by injecting fluid under high pressure), that is occurring in nearby wells,” Mr Hutton said.”This is just one cut in the death-by-a-thousand cuts to the environment that will occur when we have the tens of thousands of wells across rural Queensland.”

Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters said the incident was “yet another in a long line of incidents with CSG”.

“The locals are saying this has never happened before. The state environment department has taken the company’s word for it; that it has nothing to do with the company. It’s the job of the environment department to establish who’s responsible.”

Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters says authorities need to properly investigate methane leaks near coal seam gas wells.

Origin said the bubbling was “probably a natural occurrence” and the Queensland Government issued a statement which said, based on interim advice received from Origin, the “cause of the bubbles was unlikely to be CSG activities”.

Minister for natural resources and mines Andrew Cripps said there were four CSG wells within five kilometres of the methane leak site, with the closest 1.4 kilometres away.

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