20 April 2018
Time to put an end to dangerous Leigh Creek project
The state’s peak environment body is urging the Marshall Government to reject a highly controversial energy project in Leigh Creek in the state’s north.
Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) uses technology that caused the biggest pollution event in Queensland’s history and is strongly opposed by Traditional Owners and other community members.
The call comes as Leigh Creek Energy has received a ‘statement of environmental objectives approval’ from new Mining and Energy Minister Dan Van Holst Pellekaan.
This ‘approval’ came only a week after the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association released a statement opposing the project and damning findings in a high profile court case in Queensland against a company using the UCG process there.
“It’s time to end this irresponsible plan now,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.
“It is totally untenable that technology banned in Queensland for causing what the State Government there at the time called the ‘biggest pollution event’ in its history is being allowed here in South Australia,” he said.
“While the company is beavering away to gather various approvals, the bigger question about whether it should be allowed at all needs to be urgently answered by the Marshall Government.
“Not only is this destructive technology, but there is absolutely no social licence from the South Australian community.
“Traditional Owners have comprehensively rejected it, and it is deeply concerning that their views have been ignored. There is also widespread opposition from nearby Copley and Leigh Creek communities, with talk of imminent legal action,” he said.
UCG (or in situ gasification) involves setting fire to underground coal to extract gas.
In April 2016, the Queensland Government banned UCG after the worst contamination event in the state’s history at the Linc Energy UCG plant at Hopeland.
Just two weeks ago, Linc Energy was found guilty of causing serious environmental harm. Further criminal prosecutions of Linc executives are planned for later in the year.
“I have no doubt that Queensland would love to turn back the clock and prevent the irreversible widespread damage that was caused by UCG there. We have a chance to get it right first time here, “ said Mr Wilkins.
“This is an extreme, dangerous and toxic experiment that has no place in our state, which has a reputation for clean and smart energy.
“Minister Dan Van Holst Pellekaan has a real opportunity to stand up and protect our state from damage. It’s time to reject this proposal and never allow it here,” he said.
For comment contact: Craig Wilkins, 0417 879 439