FLASHBACK: Linc Energy’s pilot UCG plant near Chinchilla during its trial operation
(Photo: Linc Energy)
Drew Hutton
Lock The Gate president Drew Hutton

August 10, 2015

The Lock The Gate Alliance and Chinchilla residents have called for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to be banned throughout Australia.

This follows the release by the ABC of a “secret report” which allegedly details evidence that Linc Energy’s UCG plant at Chinchilla has caused irreversible damage to strategic cropping land in the area.

Earlier this year the State Government imposed an “excavation exclusion zone” on 314 sq km around the Linc facility where landholders are banned from digging any hole deeper than two metres.

Lock The Gate says local residents are furious that the results of the State Government report will not be released to them until next month.

“We are disgusted that we were living 24/7 with the UCG nightmare and have been complaining to the government about it for the last three years,” Shay Dougall, of the Hopeland Community Sustainability Group, said.

“We’re told the government investigators became sick, but what about the landholders who have lived with this toxic mix constantly?

“The department still thinks we should not be told the results until September – that’s gross negligence and an utter cover-up.

“The contaminants are still there and we are being subjected to them on a daily basis.

“We’d like to know when this mess is going to be cleaned up and what sort of management of the landholders’ health and safety is being undertaken and what compensation we can expect for this unsafe experiment.”

Lock the Gate Alliance’s Drew Hutton said UCG should be banned immediately and called for an urgent investigation of possible contamination from the Carbon Energy’s UCG plant, near Kogan, which he said was seen flaring last month.

“Five years ago I warned the State Government that it should not allow UCG in Queensland because of its potential for serious contamination,” Mr Hutton said.

“They went ahead anyway and now we are left with the toxic legacy of this industry.

“This dangerous experiment should never have been started and it should be immediately banned around Australia.”

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