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Issue #1550      6 June 2012

Coal seam gas bubbling up through Condamine River

Investigators from community activist group Lock the Gate have discovered coal seam gas bubbling to the surface along a five kilometre stretch of the Condamine River near Chinchilla in Queensland.

The gas is bubbling to the surface in at least four spots along this stretch of the river and, according to a local landowner, the coal seam gas company operating in the area - Origin - has identified it as coal seam gas and is testing to see which of its seams it comes from.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, called a media conference in front of the Parliamentary Annexe to describe these findings and call for certain actions to be taken.

Mr Hutton, a former resident of Chinchilla, said that, while it was possible for methane to naturally bubble to the surface of waterways, none of the local farmers had ever heard of it happening in the Condamine River.

Also, the fact that it is occurring along several kilometres of the river would suggest it is not an isolated occurrence but a major leak and has found its way to the surface along migration pathways opened up by the de-watering of aquifers or fracking.

“I don’t think there is any doubt this extensive leak is linked to the coal seam gas drilling, and probably fracking 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.”

Mr Hutton said the incident had been reported to the Mines and Environment departments by a local landowner but these departments reportedly did not want to know about it.

A video of the gas bubbling through the river can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di8cCrlyW6k under the heading “Condamine River Gas Leak”. The video was taken by Lock the Gate campaigner and local resident, Dayne Pratzky.  

Next article – NSW power sale: O’Farrell opens fire on National Parks

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