Minister Hartcher dodges questions on coal seam gas

MEDIA RELEASE 28 October 2011

Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham, criticised the Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher for dodging legitimate questions on coal seam gas at today’s Estimates Committee hearing.

Rather than answer a question about how coal seam gas operations would deal with millions of litres of saline waste water, the Minister chose to dispute whether the industry would really produce such a volume of waste water.

The National Water Commission position paper on coal seam gas (Dec 2010) says 7.5 trillion litres could be produced:

“Current projections indicate the Australian CSG industry could extract in the order of 7,500 gigalitres of co-produced water from groundwater systems over the next 25 years, equivalent to around 300 gigalitres per year.”  (http://www.nwc.gov.au/publications/working-with-partners-introduction/coal-seam-gas)

“Rather than deal with a serious question about coal seam gas waste water, the Minister chose to dodge the question,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Minister Hartcher characterised many legitimate concerns about coal seam gas as ‘wildly speculative statements’ rather than tell the hearing what the government policy was in terms of dealing with coal seam gas related waste water or waste salt.

“Clearly the campaign against coal seam gas has got under the skin of Mr Hartcher, and he decided to play the man and not the ball, which is unfortunate given that the issue of coal seam gas is of serious concern in the community.

“Given the government has announced a ban on evaporation ponds, Minister Hartcher should stop playing politics and tell the public what policies the government will put in place to deal with the millions of litres of waste water that would result from the development of a coal seam gas industry in NSW.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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