Greens call for moratorium & new laws to protect farms and water from coal seam gas mining
Greens leader Bob Brown, in Toowoomba today, is calling on Environment Minister Garrett to place a moratorium on coal seam gas mining and exploration until adequate environmental protections are in place.
"The rich farming land and vital water of the Surat Basin is worth around $2 billion, and should not be put at risk by the rapid, and hazardous, expansion of the coal seam (CSG) mining industry," Senator Brown said.
Senator Brown said that he would move to amend federal laws to make go ahead of coal seam gas projects subject to federal assessment and approval under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Senator Brown and Queensland Greens Senate Candidate Larissa Waters, who is an environmental lawyer, are meeting with concerned farmers on the Darling Downs today.
"Coal seam gas mining should not proceed at the expense of food production, water security, endangered species or the climate," said Ms. Waters.
"These CSG projects involve significant land clearing, destroying thousands of hectares of vegetation, including the habitat of koalas and a number of endangered species, such as the Bridled Nail-Tail Wallaby, the Grey Falcon and the Brigalow Woodland Snail.
"This traditional food-producing region must not be put at risk in the rush by outside interests for mining profits."
The Greens will move to amend the EPBC laws to ensure coal seam gas mining projects proceed only if:
• water supplies will be safe from contamination
• methane pollution is limited
• farmland is not destroyed as a result of projects
Senator Brown said that the National Party had lost its way and become much more a Mining Party than the stand out defender of farming and rural interests it used to be.
"But the Greens see the looming global food crisis and the need to give productive farmland the priority it deserves," he said.
Media contact: Erin Farley 0438 376 082