Gas flares a risk of barbecued bird-life [opinion]

Forget about the dangers of coal seam gas drilling, because a new bogeyman has come to the gas industry.

Last week the QCLNG plant on Curtis Island tested its flare tower for the first time, sending conservationists running for the internet to decry the tragedy that awaits the feathery likes of the red-necked stint pass, the grey-tailed tattler, and the oft-maligned barpailed godwit. 

The concern is that there is a risk, during flares of natural gas from any of the three plants on the island, that migrating birds will attempt to fly through the flames and be incinerated.

Thankfully, a local birdwatcher told the Gladstone Observer that such an occurrence would be unlikely.

However, the newspaper also pointed out that a large number of migrating songbirds (10,000, more commonly reported to be 7500) were killed in a gas flare in Canada last September.

A QCLNG spokesperson has reassured bird lovers that QGC engaged ornithological experts to obtain data about the behaviour of local bird life, and that the plant was designed to point sources of firey death away from roosting habitats (which is straight up in the sky, from the looks of things).

It is high time someone suggested to QGC that they should employ trained bird spotters to ensure skies are clear before initiating a gas flare. Either that or they should build an enormous cage around the flare, for birds to bump into like moths on a lightbulb.

The fears for bird life echo scaremongery from further south about the risks to bird life posed by wind turbines, which have been supposed to mercilessly mince up birds of prey and various migratory species.

Have your say…

Will birds be barbecued by billowing burn-off?

What should QGC do to mitigate this risk?

And why aren't we up in arms about the poor creature pictured here, when we have hundreds of thousands of meeting the same fate every day?

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