JUST when we rural people thought we’d survived some very anti-landholder amendments by recent state governments and at least fought our way back to about where we were five years ago, Ian Macfarlane in his newish role as CEO of the Queensland Resources Council declares war on the current laws and on ‘greenies’ who he says are running a fear campaign against mining.
Mr Macfarlane told a Rural Press Club lunch on April 20 that because the CSIRO was once part of his portfolio as federal minister, he’s qualified to dismiss all those concerns about dewatering by CSG producers.
He says the groundwater aquifers are tightly segregated and it’s simply not true that when CSG dewatering reduces water pressure in the target coal seams, water from adjoining aquifers migrates through interconnecting pathways to the target coal seams and is pumped away.
And simply not true, he says, that CSG companies are dewatering aquifers relied on by landholders.
All of which is officially and comprehensively wrong.
The State Government and its Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment don’t reveal resource industries’ damage unless they have to, but the latest OGIA Underground Water Impact Report directly and thoroughly debunks Mr Macfarlane’s claims.
As of 2016, 100 private bores were assessed as Immediately Affected, such that draw down exceeds or will exceed the trigger level within three years.
As well, 469 private bores were assessed as Long Term Affected, expecting draw down by more than the trigger level in the future
As of July 2015, all petroleum and gas producers in the Surat Basin took 65,000 megalitres a year in dewatering.
And there’s no need for concern that both CSG producers and miners are allowed to take unlimited volumes in dewatering, he says.
Mr Macfarlane didn’t mention that fugitive gas liberated by dewatering moves through pathways previously blocked by water.
It surrounds and damages water bores, cutting the yield and damaging the pumps.
This is confirmed in the report commissioned by the CSG Compliance Unit: Potential effects of free gas on bore water supply from CSG development March 2016.
It’s available from the Compliance Unit and from my company’s website.
Should the legislation govern the releases of fugitive politicians, perhaps?
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