Activists claim a coal seam gas firm’s buy out of properties near its Queensland operation is an admission the gas is harmful.
However, the Queensland Gas Company (QGC) says it has purchased 60 properties in the Surat Basin over the past decade to build infrastructure and to minimise the impact on residents.
Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton says the firm has been ‘quietly’ buying properties from residents at Tara, west of Toowoomba, who have complained of health impacts.
‘The buy outs are a tacit admission by this foreign owned company that coal seam gas is harmful to human health,’ he said in a statement.
‘Finally QGC has admitted responsibility and bought some people out.
‘We are waiting to see if the company will do the right thing for the remaining residents who have been suffering a range of health effects from air pollution and black rain.’
A QGC spokesman says sellers approached the firm and the purchase of properties didn’t relate to health impact claims.
‘QGC sometimes purchases properties in the Surat Basin to support development of long-term infrastructure and to minimise impact on residents,’ the spokesman said.
‘These purchase decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and all the properties have been offered for sale by the sellers.’
Residents have reported nose bleeds, chronic headaches, nausea and rashes among children and adults living in the Tara residential estate.
They believe CSG mining in the area is contaminating the air and poisoning potable groundwater.
The health department last year reported a recent study could not determine whether any of the health effects reported by residents was linked to exposure to CSG activities.