Coalseam gas mining (CSG) = Coalbed methane (CBM) = Natural Gas from Coal (NGC)
Tara residents want out as coal seam gas mining takes hold by John McCarthy, August 22, 2015, The Courier-Mail
“ONE out, all out!” is the chant coming out of the poor community and coal seam gas hub of Tara, population 3000.
Several families want the same treatment given to six families who were the ringleaders in a five-year fight against CSG. Those six were bought out by QGC, legally gagged from discussing the issue and moved on.
“We are at the stage where we just don’t want to be here any more. We are like the other guys, we just want out,’’ Tara resident John Jenkyn said.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts.”
Not far away, Peter McGowan and his partner Kerry McMillan are determined to leave. The struggle to beat the CSG companies is over, as far as they are concerned.
The fight, along with their health, has left them. “Tara is stuffed,” Mr McGowan said. They will pack a campervan later this year, lock the doors of their home and walk away, never to return.
The Uniting and Catholic churches have their own concerns about coal seam gas and wanted a moratorium to deal with unanswered questions. Uniting Church pastor Reverend Graham Slaughter said there were community benefits to CSG and did not want to be overly critical. “But there is too much happening to too many people for it to be nothing,’’ Mr Slaughter said.
Steve Ansford produces a stack of photos of his son Dusty, 8, covered in rashes and burns as well as suffering a bleeding nose. He puts it down to the effects of CSG on the water they use.
“We are happy for them (the six ringleaders who left) but we are just pissed off that those of us who want to get out can’t,” Mr Ansford said.
Mr Jenkyn and his family live opposite QGC’s Kenya gas field and are surrounded by hundreds of wells. There’s a compressor station 3km away that keeps them awake at night. He is too scared to drink the water from his tanks. They have given up on the vegetable patch, and even cane toads lie dead outside the house after rain.
Residents said the buyout of the six ringleaders was not only an admission by the gas companies that something was wrong at Tara, but also an attempt to silence protests.
A QGC spokesman said there was no admission by the company that something was wrong and the purchase of the properties was to support development and minimise inconvenience to residents.
“There is no evidence to support health complaints,” the spokesman said.
Origin echoed the statements. “We have been producing natural gas safely for many years and our own staff also live and work amid natural gas infrastructure,’’ a company spokesman said.
But Mr Jenkyn said his family has not been able to drink rainwater for nine months because scientific testing of the water he had done showed high levels of cadmium, which can be toxic and affect the liver and lungs. His wife, Jo, sometimes has to wear a gas mask.
Queensland Health has found no link between the symptoms at Tara and CSG. [Did they look?]
Tara gone with the wind of big CSG buyout by gas giant QGC by John McCarthy, August 3, 2015, The Courier-Mail
RESIDENTS of a small western Downs community who claimed coal seam gas development was poisoning them have been quietly bought out and moved.
CSG company QGC confirmed it had bought some properties to reduce the impact of their operations on residents at Tara, near Chinchilla, reversing a policy it had held for several years and ending a bitter campaign waged by the “blockies’’ against the development.
The Tara community borders on QGC’s Kenya gas field and is targeted to have its own gas wells in the near future, but some of its residents have been fierce opponents and were responsible for the first real campaign against CSG.
The Courier-Mail has learnt that Debbie Orr, the woman who managed to get Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Tara only weeks after his election, has been shifted out of her home at Tara. Mrs Orr has complained bitterly about the health problems suffered by her family and friends which she claimed had been caused by the nearby CSG fields.
Phone numbers of some of the other critical residents have been disconnected.
Residents said there had also been gag orders placed on those who moved, while others said QGC had realised that some people should not live in a gas field.
Property records show QGC has spent millions of dollars in recent years buying properties in the Tara-Wieambilla district. More than $1 million has been spent buying the blocks and many are unserviced and unsuitable for farming.
Those sales included $213,000 for 888 Lucky Rd, $160,000 for a property on Blackburns Rd and $785,000 for one on Chinchilla-Tara Rd.
QGC has previously steadfastly refused to buy out the residents unless their properties were set to be used for a significant piece of infrastructure, such as a compression station.
But QGC changed its tune to also say it wanted to minimise impact on residents, particularly those in rural residential estates.
“These purchase decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and all the properties have been offered for sale by the sellers,’’ it said.
A study by Queensland Health said there was no link found between CSG and illnesses suffered by residents in Tara.
However, doctor and activist Geralyn McCarron carried out her own survey of residents near Tara, collecting data on 113 people from 38 households on rural blocks.
Dr McCarron found 82 per cent reported their health was adversely affected by coal seam gas, while 19 per cent were uncertain.
QGC has held off developing the area because of the tensions and threats from local residents to block their workers’ entry. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2011: Australian Petroleum Association: Coal seam damage to water inevitable by The Sydney Morning Herald
The coal seam gas industry has conceded that extraction will inevitably contaminate aquifers. “Drilling will, to varying degrees, impact on adjoining aquifers,” said the spokesman, Ross Dunn. “The intent of saying that is to make it clear that we have never shied away from the fact that there will be impacts on aquifers,” Mr Dunn said.
Yet CAPP’s Alex Ferguson says many worries about water quality are based on past operations involving coal-bed methane — shallow deposits in closer proximity to groundwater. These did occasionally contaminate water resources, he says. In some of the more infamous instances, affected landowners could light their well water on fire.
(Alex Ferguson was appointed Commissioner and CEO of the BC Oil and Gas Commission from 2007-2011)
Linc Energy’s Massive Frac’d Land Time Bomb, “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, and near Tara.
What about Queensland Health, who investigated residents’ health concerns?
Yeah, Queensland Health released a report and said everything’s AOK out there. I was part of that health study. Some people came out to my place and took two litres of water out of my water tank and collected some air samples for a couple of hours in a canister. That was QGC who did that – the actual company I was complaining about! QGC analysed these samples and sent the results to Queensland Health and they released the study. I didn’t see a doctor and not once was examined by a doctor.
Pratzky said he had been accused by environmental ‘purists’ of taking ‘blood money’ by agreeing to sell his Tara property to Queensland Gas.
“It was a difficult decision and I still struggle with it, but I had two mental breakdowns and depression,” he said.
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)