Contamination near Linc Energy UCG plant at Hopeland more widespread than first thought by Mark Willacy, February 09, 2017, ABC News
Flammable levels of hydrogen have been found at a number of locations near the site of a controversial gas project that has been blamed for contaminating huge swathes of prime Queensland farm land.
The ABC understands an ongoing Environment Department investigation has confirmed that the contamination is much more widespread than previously thought.
The Queensland Government has dispatched Environment Department officers to the Hopeland community, near Chinchilla in the state’s south, and is setting up a call centre to help explain the situation to landholders. [When will the Alberta government and the “No Duty of Care” AER set up a call centre or have a public meeting and inform the citizens of Rosebud that Encana illegally frac’d and contaminated their drinking water supply?]
Hopeland is the site of Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification (UCG) plant, which is alleged to have polluted soil and groundwater during its operation.
UCG involves burning coal deep underground, which creates a gas that is then collected at the surface through wells.
In 2015, the ABC revealed a confidential study commissioned by the Environment Department had found that the Linc facility had caused “irreversible” damage to strategic cropping land, with concentrations of hydrogen at explosive levels found in the soil.
Abnormal amounts of methane and high levels of cancer-causing benzene were also found.
Former Linc employees told investigators that gas often bubbled up from the ground and that they had fallen ill while working at the site.
The company, which is now in liquidation with estimated debts of $300 million, has been committed to stand trial on five counts of wilfully causing environmental harm. [No action by Alberta regulators or Attorney General to make Encana stand trial for intentionally frac’ing a community’s drinking water supply]
Five former executives — including Linc founder Peter Bond — have also been charged with environmental offences, which can carry a penalty of up to five years’ jail.
[Compare to how corporate crimes are handled in Canada:
Will Encana’s ex-CEO Gwyn Morgan and ex-VP Gerard Protti ever be charged and punished for what was done to Rosebud’s fresh water aquifers under their management? So far, Encana’s law violations have only been rewarded:
- the Alberta government appointed Protti Chair to Chair the AER;
- Steve Harper appointed Morgan to Chair Canada’s “Accountability Act;” and
- Morgan was later rewarded further with the Order of Canada.]
Previous header image of the gwynmorgan.ca website, before Gwyn Morgan had the law firm Bennett Jones threaten the blogger in writing (spelling Gwyn’s name wrong), ordering the image removed and more:
End comparison to how corporate crimes are handled in Canada.]
Due to fears about possible hydrogen explosions, the Government has been enforcing a 314-square kilometre “excavation caution zone” around the Linc plant, with landholders banned from digging any hole deeper than two metres.
The ABC understands further investigation by the Environment Department has now found flammable levels of hydrogen at locations outside the current caution zone.
[If the AER and Alberta Environment were regulators instead of fraudsters and deregulators, and were investigating Encana’s crimes and monitoring impacts of the company’s frac’ing, how many hundreds of Alberta families would be found living in explosive risk from Encana’s migrating methane, ethane, H2S, and other gases?]
The hydrogen has been detected underground and the department says it dissipates quickly in the open air.
Government sources have stressed the gas is not of an explosive concentration but landholders will be encouraged to exercise caution.
Environment Department testing only found hydrogen and not more dangerous chemicals at the former Linc site.
The department’s investigation into Linc Energy was the largest of its type in Queensland’s history. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2016 09 18: Queensland’s environmental regulator charges Linc Energy CEO Peter Bond with three indictable offences, If convicted, could face fines or jail time. Linc, in liquidation, faces five charges of willfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm. When will Encana be charged for willfully and unlawfully frac’ing and contaminating Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers?
2015 08 10: Linc Energy’s Massive Frac’d Land Time Bomb (like Encana’s at Rosebud?), “Executives could face the prospect of jail. Damage has been going on for years.” Secret report reveals more than 300 sq km of severe contamination to groundwater, prime agricultural land and air near Chinchilla, SE Queensland
2015 03 03: Queensland regulator: gases near Chinchilla might be from Linc Energy coal gasification plant, Preliminary tests on private properties showed carbon monoxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide yet Queensland Health says “no health risks to landowners” (Reality check: the gases might kill you or ignite)
2014 04 11: Underground Coal Gasification Company Linc Energy Limited charged by regulator for causing serious environmental harm ]