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.”

Listen to Alan Jones talk about this issue.

Watch ABC TV News story on this issue.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916



  • i have read the companies say that they will prevent future accidents. will they? how many times do they have to tell us this is safe when it is CLEARLY NOT. will they be cleaning this up? or will they just use a bandaid measure as has been done previously? when will theyt see the illogic in all of this??????????


  • what happens to the tonnes of poisoned salt ? where does it go? what can it be used for? is it sent off to a 3rd world country?


  • Dear Jeremy – thanks for your exposure of this (second, & deadlier) rape of the Pilliga Region : keep up the excellent work.
    Do even more to ensure that Australia survives as much more than ‘a mine & a quarry’!
    For your information, I was formerly a legal practitioner practising at Leeton in the NSW Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area for 36.5 years until early 2005; and for most of those years I regularly visited the NW of New South Wales (where my brother had a small grazing property between Coonabarabran and Garrawilla & I also visited the area including Pilliga. Most of the region is excellent for wheatgrowing, and Australia, plus our overseas recipients of food-grain for human consumption, NEEDS any part of the Pilliga allowed to be cleared of native vegetation to be used, instead, to be put the “highest & best use” of producing food & fibre for HUMAN consumption & highlevel usages…and not raped by strip/open-cut mining. February 10,2012. Ian M.


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