Queensland’s government has banned coal gasification due to ‘its environmental impact’.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr. Anthony Lynham announced the immediate ban, committing to bring out a legislated ban before the end of this year.
“We have looked at the evidence from the pilot-operation of UCG and we’ve considered the compatibility of the current technologies with Queensland’s environment and our economic needs,” he said.
“The potential risks to Queensland’s environment and our valuable agricultural industries far outweigh any potential economic benefits.”
Lynham intends to turn the legislation into a law in order to “give certainty to the resources industry, so they know very clearly where the government stands, and to the community”.
“As a government, we support our resources sector for the jobs and economic growth it generates, but UCG activity simply doesn’t stack up for further use in Queensland,” he added.
Environment minister Steven Miles said the government was also taking steps to tackle issues generated during the UCG pilots.
Linc Energy, one of the companies that took part in the UCG pilot, was recently committed on five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental damage in the District Court.
Miles said the Linc Energy investigation is the largest and most expensive case handled by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), the state’s environment regulator.
“The Palaszczuk government has already provided DEHP $15.8m in special funding to deal with this important case,” he said.
“In addition, our new chain of responsibility laws will provide new powers to require that contaminated sites must be cleaned up.”
The Lock the Gate Alliance has supported this ban, Drew Hutton congratulating Palaszczuk and the QLD government for making the decision.
“This technology has failed repeatedly in QLD and it is simply too dangerous to accept,” he said.
“We’ve been working for more than six years to have important farmland, water resources and local communities protected from the risks that this industry poses.
“We believe this should be a bipartisan issue and would like to see support from all political parties, including LNP, to end this dangerous polluting industry.”
Hutton also wanted to see Linc Energy and its chair Peter Bond held accountable by the QLD government for their operation’s impact on farmland.
Underground coal gasification involves burning coal underground to produce a synthesised gas. This syngas is processed on the surface to create products such as synthetic diesel and aviation fuel.