MP urges independent testing of coal gas wells

ABC News - 21.10.2010

Queensland Opposition MP Ray Hopper says he has no faith in the self-regulation process used to assess water quality at coal seam gas (CSG) mines.

Environmentalists and residents have repeated calls to end CSG gas extraction after another water contamination scare at a mine west of Miles in Queensland’s southern inland.

Traces of banned carcinogenic chemicals were found in fluid taken from eight exploration wells near Miles during routine tests by Australia Pacific LNG.

Australia Pacific LNG spokesman Paul Zealand said yesterday it was a mystery how the chemicals got there.

“In that extraction process we do inject some chemicals into the wells but the suppliers of our chemicals have assured us that those chemicals don’t contain BTEX,” he said.

“It’s been a big surprise to us to find this and that’s why we’ve undertaken the investigation regime we’re now doing.”

More independent testing

Mr Hopper, the Member for Condamine, says he is very concerned about coal seam gas mining, but will not support a moratorium on the practice.

He says testing needs to be more independent.

“I’m far from happy with self-regulation and I think we need independent monitoring,” he said.

“That’s what we’re going to set up a rural water commission, which would look after these sorts of things we would set up under the LNP [Liberal National Party].”

Mr Hopper says he is worried about underground water quality but he wants to wait for two government reports before he passes judgement.

“We have magnificent underground water, we have magnificent irrigation, magnificent town supply,” he said.

“Now if in any way that’s under threat, then that’s not on.”

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