Coal-seam gas concerns

FARMERS have joined environmentalists in voicing alarm over coal-seam gas mining, which one green group claims could affect half the Tweed shire.

Tweed Combined Rural Industries Association chairman Col Brooks yesterday called on the new state Coalition Government to ban drilling until a thorough, independent study was completed into the dangers of polluting underground water supplies.

“We are pretty concerned. There are too many unknowns with it,” Mr Brooks said.

“There should be a halt until there is a thorough study on the impacts.

“Long-term, permanent water supplies and the aquifers that carry them are being put at risk for what is a relatively short-term financial gain.

“Gas is not going to last forever.

“It has only a limited life span. The aquifers need to be there for eternity.”

The Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council, known as Gecko, claims more than 50% of the Tweed shire is already under gas exploration permits, which could lead to the controversial practice of fracking (fracturing underground seams to check for and mine gas).

The group is hoping local people will turn out to watch and discuss the anti-gas-mining documentary Gasland at the Robina Community Centre tomorrow from 1pm.

Libby Connors, a campaigner with the Lock The Gate Alliance, which urges farmers to keep the miners off their properties, will be a guest speaker.

Ms Connors said her group was “an alliance of rural groups and Friends of the Earth attempting to lock the fossil-fuel industry out of rural Australia”.

“We need to do this wherever there is a threat to good agricultural land,” she said. “This would certainly apply to the whole of the Tweed.”

Mr Brooks said many Tweed farmers relied on natural springs and bores as their only water supply in dry periods. Riverside farmers had also put down bores to avoid blue-green algae.

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