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APPEA responds to proposed CBM enquiry

Published by
World Coal,

The Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association (APPEA) has criticised a proposal to set up a Senate enquiry into the safety of the Australian unconventional natural gas industry as “politically motivated and costly”. The enquiry was proposed by Queensland Senator, Glenn Lazarus, who has been a vocal opponent of the Queensland coalbed methane – called coal seam gas (CSG) in Australia – industry.

“Governments can no longer ignore the impact of coal seam gas (CSG) mining and other types of unconventional gas mining on the people of Australia,” Lazarus said. “I am calling on all sides of politics to support me today to ensure the Senate Committee is established to investigate the impact of CSG and other forms of unconventional gas on the people of Australia.”

Responding to the proposed enquiry, Malcolm Roberts, CEO of the APPEA said that there was no need for an enquiry that would cover issues that had already been “exhaustively investigated by numerous independent or parliamentary enquiries.”

“A host of respected experts such as the Australian College of Learned Academies, the Society in the UK, the NSW Chief Scientist and CSIRO’s Gas Industry, Social and Environmental Research Alliance have confirmed that the industry operates under a robust regulatory regime,” Roberts continued. “The gas industry is confident that the facts will show an industry which is safe, responsible and enormously beneficial for Australia.”

Roberts also argued that the right of landowners are already protected by state legislation with over AUS$200 million paid out to compensate landowners from any impact from unconventional gas operations.

“The industry respects landowners,” Roberts said. “Since 2011, more than 5000 land access agreements have been voluntarily signed between landowners and gas companies. The independent Gasfields Commission supports landowners and communities. The result is a fair system, which provides huge benefits to regional communities.”

An official vote to establish the enquiry has yet to be held. According to the APPEA, the coalbed methane industry is worth AUS$80 billion in Queensland alone and helps to feed Australian growing exports of LNG.

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