Toxicity of coal seam gas spill highlights risk
9 February 2012
Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on the government to support his Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill next week after scientific analysis of a coal seam gas water spill in the Pilliga Forest revealed high levels of heavy metals and salts.
“The test results prove that the coal seam gas industry is a toxic risk to farms, water supplies and the environment,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“It is frightening and reckless that high levels of salt and heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic have been released into the environment.
“The presence of volatile hydrocarbons in the samples suggest that there have been multiple and recent spills. The company should come clean on how many spills and just what else has happened with coal seam gas in the Pilliga.
“These tests prove that the water brought up from the coal seams is highly toxic. The National Water Commission estimates that the coal seam gas industry could extract 300 billion litres of water every year.
“Even if the risks of spills or contamination of aquifers can be minimised, there will still be a huge amount of heavy metals, chemicals and salts associated with coal seam gas to be treated and disposed of.
“We are already seeing serious incidents with only a few wells. If this industry is allowed to roll out we are facing risks from tens of thousands of wells – particularly in flood prone or high rainfall areas.
“Barry O’Farrell has a chance to act when the Greens bill for a 12 month moratorium on coal seam gas comes before the Parliament next week.”
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Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916