Queensland farmers vow to lock out coal seam gas drillers from their properties

The Courier Mail, John McCarthy 2.11.2010

THE coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt, with farmers yesterday threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies.

A massive expansion of the industry was ignited on the weekend when BG Group-owned Queensland Gas gave the go-ahead for a $15 billion liquefied natural gas plant at Gladstone that will be fuelled by coal seam gas from the Surat Basin. Santos, Origin and Shell are all trying to firm up their own massive LNG projects.

But farmers from Dalby to west of Miles, as well as activists and the Tara blockies, are refusing to bow to the companies which will drill thousands of wells on farmland over the next 20 years.

Lee McNicol, who farms at Dulacca, west of Miles, said the region was going to be turned into a pin cushion of gas wells.

“There will be long-term environmental effect and short-term farming effect,” Mr McNicol said.

His concern was the depletion of aquifers through the CSG extraction process.

“We’ve had a drought for 10 years. Are we going to create another one?” he said.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Drew Hutton said farmers were facing possible irreversible damage to the Great Artesian Basin.


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