10.4 C
Byron Shire
May 31, 2023

CSG leaks have tax implications

Latest News

Help kids fly…

Spaghetti Circus is calling for supporters for their Scholarship Program in 2024. Spaghetti’s passion is creating healthy, active, happy kids....

Other News

What about the young peeps?

The Byron Shire is a popular place to live, and a sought after tourist destination, however it lacks infrastructure to accommodate young people. 

Questioning the ten commandments

On the ten commandments, briefly: If you are not indigenous to land, you would have had to (‘Thou Shalt...

Pushing-Up for mental health in June

Australia’s largest fitness-based mental health event, The Push-Up Challenge, is back in 2023, encouraging Australians to push for better mental health.

National Reconciliation Week starts tomorrow

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Tweed Shire Council to seek legal advice on legacy DAs

The clearing of the site on the banks of Cobaki Creek to progress a 27-year old development approval has triggered Tweed Shire Councillors to seek legal advice on what can be done about legacy/zombie developments. 

Byron’s favourite block party

Australian roots legends, The Beautiful Girls, will headline Stone & Wood’s winter block party, Festival of the Stone, when...

Chris Dobney and Melissa Hargraves 

The coal-seam gas industry could face a troubled future if it can be proven that it is causing methane leakages into the landscape, according to two Southern Cross University researchers who presented their findings last night.

Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide and gas companies could face massive carbon-tax charges if fugitive atmospheric emissions were proven.

Drs Isaac Santos and Damien Maher used high-tech equipment to monitor methane levels and to fingerprint the methane isotopes of gas in Tara, Queensland, and the Richmond Valley. They were then able to determine whether it was either part of the natural cycle (eg from swamps or grazing animals) or was from underground sources.

The team established that methane was up to three times more prevalent in the environment around Tara than in the Richmond valley, where CSG production has yet to commence.

They recorded methane levels in CSG areas as high as 6.89 parts per million compared to other non-CSG areas that recorded levels around two parts per million.

Dr Santos also disclosed the testing results of the Condamine methane bubbles as ‘having the same fingerprint as the methane from extraction… which has a different composition than what occurs naturally’.

‘This throws the industry into a whole new light,’ according to Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton.

‘The federal government currently works on the assumption that fugitive methane emissions from coal seam gas are 0.12 per cent of all gas produced,’ he told media this morning.

However, he said, if methane levels are ‘many times higher’ – as the study suggests – than the industry could face higher penalties under the carbon tax.

While the tax implications of this greenhouse gas are evident, the researchers pointed to the fact that there are no baseline data, other than their research, currently available against which to compare future readings.

Dr Maher said the team was putting together ‘cutting-edge atmospheric models to try to calculate how much gas must be escaping’.

‘Currently NSW and QLD [only] have a code of practice for wellhead emissions, which relate to how explosive the wellhead is. For a wellhead leak to be reported, the methane concentration needs to reach 5,300 parts per million, compared to 1.8 which is natural in the atmosphere.

‘It is like we have a fire alarm instead of a smoke alarm.’

Dr Santos, whose area of speciality is groundwater, says he ‘doesn’t like to exaggerate but we have heard of examples in Tara where the groundwater has dropped by 100 metres!’

The team also measured for the amount of groundwater present in rivers and streams, based on the amount of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, traces of which are present in any water or gas that is moving underground.

Dr Santos explained that ‘radon is much higher in groundwater than surface water’.

By mapping radon concentrations, Dr Santos believes that you can determine where groundwater is entering the creek.

‘I would be advising the CSG mining companies to drill in areas where there are low concentrations of radon as we know that groundwater is not feeding those areas.’

Interestingly, high levels of radon were detected in five creeks across the Richmond catchment by students of Dr Santos, so they are being fed by groundwater.

‘This is the kind of information we need so we can see what happens after major development,’ said Dr Santos.

Read our full report of the findings

Previous articleRoad rage
Next articleMethod in the madness

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Bangers on the Green

Bangers on the Green promises to be an absolute treat for the local music community. Bringing together a day of awesome live Australian acts that you wouldn’t...

A fragrant garland of classical Indian raga

Målå is a classical Indian music experience featuring international artist Sangeet Mishra, eighth generation sarangi player from Mumbai. Bangalow A&I Hall are very happy...

Dance and escape at the Nudge

Dance and escape before their winter break at June’s Nudge Nudge Wink Wink: The Ultimate Party with a Conscience! The party of the year is ready to ignite the...

Interview with Akmal Saleh

The Byron Comedy Festival is on this weekend with the event closing out with Akmal Saleh’s third show, proving that he who laughs last,...