Business

UCG company to fight serious environmental harm charges

Linc Energy's pilot plant near Chinchilla.
Linc Energy's pilot plant near Chinchilla. Contributed

UPDATE: Linc Energy will fight charges of causing serious environmental harm at its pilot plant near Chinchilla.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has charged the underground coal gasification company.

A Linc Energy spokesman today said the charges did not affect the commercial or ongoing operations of the company "in any way"

"The company is disappointed the department has never attempted to fully understand the underground coal gasification process and these charges are misguided," he said.

"In addition, Linc Energy is disappointed that the department has not afforded it the opportunity to respond to the allegations throughout the 'detailed' investigation."

The spokesman said Linc Energy "at all times" complied with groundwater monitoring regulations".

"The charges relate to older style underground coal gasification technology that Linc Energy was researching several years ago and is no longer pursuing.

"Linc Energy's developed, and commercial ready, underground coal gasification technology is not included in these allegations."

Linc Energy completed its research and development program at Chinchilla in October 2013 and is in the process of "safely" decommissioning the site, according to the spokesman.

SATURDAY 11AM: Linc Energy has been charged by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection with causing serious environmental harm at its Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla.

If found guilty, Linc Energy could face a maximum penalty of $2.2 million per offense.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the charges followed a detailed nine- month investigation in relation to the company's pilot Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla.

"UCG is a very different process to that used to extract coal seam gas (CSG). It involves converting coal to a synthesised (or non-natural) gas via enforced combustion," Mr Powell said.

"As a result of this ongoing investigation, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has now filed charges against Linc Energy for causing serious environmental harm."

"While the harm allegedly caused to the environment is considered serious, the information available to the department suggests there is no immediate risk to neighbouring landholder water bores.

"The department is continuing its formal investigation into the activities of Linc Energy Limited."

"This government has implemented a regulatory strategy that is designed to get our staff out from behind their desks and onto the ground to ensure all operators meet their environmental obligations.

"We take matters such as these very seriously and there are severe penalties for companies or individuals that fail to meet our high environmental standards.

"The Queensland Government encourages emerging industries to develop, however they must comply with the state's strong environmental laws."

Lock the Gate national president Drew Hutton said the Government decision to release the statement, devoid of details and on Friday at 5pm was "a cynical act".

"Releasing this important information at 5pm Friday and on the night a major cyclone was about to hit the state was obviously designed to ensure as few people as possible read about it," Mr Hutton said.

"This underground coal gasification technology is highly dangerous and the State Government should never have allowed it. Any sensible government would ban it now."

He called on the government to release all relevant details including what specific damage was done, and where and when it occurred.

"The Newman government is allowing dirty and dangerous experiments in Queensland with unsafe technology including UCG, coal seam gas, shale gas and shale oil," Mr Huttonsaid.

The two UCG technology pilot trials in Queensland are both entering a decommissioning phase.

A report by an Independent Scientific Panel, appointed to assist the government assess the technical and environmental aspects of the UCG technology, is available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au

Topics:  andrew powell, chinchilla, department of environment and heritage protection, environment, linc energy


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Knitting Nannas coming to town

COMING TO TOWN: The Knitting Nannas Against Gas are holding their national conference in Chinchilla this weekend.

Knitting Nanas Against Gas having national conference in Chinchilla.

Global giant opens new office in Chinchilla

Chinchilla State High School principal Scott Rowan shakes hands with Broadspectrum's general manager, industrial maintenance Sam Goldsmith after Mr Goldsmith pledged to host a busload of work experience students every quarter at the opening of Broadspectrum's warehouse and office in the Surat Basin Industrial Park, Chinchilla.

Global giant's investment in Chinchilla a vote of confidence

Book delves into family's past

TAPPING INTO THE PAST: Bill McCutcheon speaks at the book launch for Tapestry of Time on Saturday afternoon.

Tapestry of Time book launch.

Latest deals and offers

What's on in the Western Downs

This week's guide to what's happening in the Western Downs.

Knitting Nannas coming to town

COMING TO TOWN: The Knitting Nannas Against Gas are holding their national conference in Chinchilla this weekend.

Knitting Nanas Against Gas having national conference in Chinchilla.

Global giant opens new office in Chinchilla

Chinchilla State High School principal Scott Rowan shakes hands with Broadspectrum's general manager, industrial maintenance Sam Goldsmith after Mr Goldsmith pledged to host a busload of work experience students every quarter at the opening of Broadspectrum's warehouse and office in the Surat Basin Industrial Park, Chinchilla.

Global giant's investment in Chinchilla a vote of confidence

Book delves into family's past

TAPPING INTO THE PAST: Bill McCutcheon speaks at the book launch for Tapestry of Time on Saturday afternoon.

Tapestry of Time book launch.

Honeybears thump Highfields

ACTION: Honeybears vs Highfields at the Chinchilla Rec Grounds on Sunday.

Honeybears thump Highfields 5-2

Flood watch issued for Qld, NSW

NSW State Emergency Service warns of heavy rain

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Johnny Depp 'deeply respects' Amber Heard

Celebrity

Amber Heard gives away $7 million settlement to charity

The true cost of 60 Minutes debacle revealed

It's a bill that would make even a silk tied barrister blush

Kirk Douglas is defiant, fierce and still standing

VETERAN ACTOR: Kirk Douglas has had a long and varied career.

Kirk Douglas has out-lived almost all his contemporaries

The Hard Word reviews Kyzer Soze

Kyzer Soze are playing Brisbane tomorrow at the Crowbar in Fortitude Valley. Photo Contributed

Kyzer Soze summon the evil for this mighty slab of death metal

Britney Spears 'almost drowned' in Hawaii

Britney Spears has revealed she 'almost drowned' while on holiday

Doco reveals real story behind Black Hawk Down

Former Black Hawk pilot Mike Durant shares his story, which helped to inspire the movie Black Hawk Down, in the TV series No Man Left Behind.

FORMER pilot recounts ordeal which inspired a Hollywood movie.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.