Methane gas leaks mean coal seam gas moratorium is a must

MEDIA RELEASE  15 November 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on Premier Barry O’Farrell to implement a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry in NSW after a scientific study showed high levels of methane leaking into the atmosphere from a coal seam gas field in Tara, Queensland.

“Barry O’Farrell must impose a moratorium on this industry until the true nature of coal seam gas leaks can be properly assessed,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The levels of methane detected by the scientific study are extremely concerning from a climate perspective, from a health perspective, and highlights that fracking and depressurising coal seams is having wide-spread environmental effects.

“The methane in coal seam gas is usually associated with carbon dioxide and other gases including a number of volatile organic compounds and chemicals which can have serious impacts on human health such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes.  Are these volatile organic compounds also leaking into the environment?

“Given AGL’s has a proposal for 66 coal seam gas wells near Campbelltown currently before the Department of Planning, how can the Premier, who is also the Minister for Western Sydney, let this industry go ahead when scientific evidence suggests high levels of gas leakage.

“Industry body APPEA is sounding more and more like the tobacco industry in their public relations spin designed to discredit and dismiss the scientific studies.

“Coal seam gas is a major new industry and should not proceed while there are still huge questions relating to its safety, environmental impact and necessity,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

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