We’ve launched legal action on behalf of Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland (EnvA-CQ) over a dangerous new coal seam gas project that could damage community groundwater, fuel climate change, jeopardise human rights and harm threatened wildlife.
Blue Energy was approved by the Queensland Government to install up to 530 new coal seam gas wells in Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin – without a thorough assessment of the project’s environmental impacts.
That’s why our client is taking legal action stop this harmful project. Our lawyers will argue in the Land Court of Queensland on behalf of our client that the project should be refused due to its unacceptable risks.
Risks to groundwater
Blue Energy will drill to a depth of almost 1.2km, penetrating and potentially contaminating or draining several freshwater aquifers. The company’s own modelling shows more than 19 billion litres of water will be extracted over the two-decade life of this proposed gasfield.
Our client is concerned that the groundwater modelling was inadequate and that there is not enough information to determine the real impacts on the local landholders that rely on their bores for water supply or the Lake Elphistone nationally important wetland.
On our big dry continent, water is more precious than short-term profits from gas.
Threats to wildlife
The gasfield is earmarked for the Brigalow Belt – a region of acacia-wooded grassland that provides habitat for threatened greater gliders, koalas, and other animals.
Blue Energy plans to install about 700km of roads and pipelines that may fragment bushland and degrade wildlife habitat. Habitat destruction is the greatest threat to our imperilled native animals.
Our lawyers will argue in court that that the approval fails to manage the risk that the gasfield poses to threatened species and should therefore be overturned.
Driving climate change and the disasters it fuels
Blue Energy’s CSG project may directly and indirectly emit at least 5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over its lifetime – more than a year’s emissions from one million petrol-powered passenger vehicles, with potential this figure could be much higher.
Groundbreaking footage recently captured by ACF shows massive plumes of unreported methane emissions erupting from coal seam gas projects across Southern Queensland.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the global heating impact of CO2 over a 20-year period when released into the atmosphere.
Methane emissions have been poorly regulated in Queensland for decades, with limited understanding of the quantity of emissions currently being released from existing fossil fuel projects. Our client is concerned that approving even more methane emitting projects inappropriately threatens to increase dangerous climate change.
This is truly the critical decade for tackling climate change. Blue Energy’s gasfield flies in the face of the latest IPCC report, which makes it clear no new fossil fuel projects can be opened if we are to have a liveable planet.
Human rights jeopardised by the climate emergency
Our client will also argue that Blue Energy’s gasfield infringes on a number of rights under Queensland’s Human Rights Act – including the right to life, the protection of children and the right to culture – by contributing to worsening climate change.
Last November, EDO clients Youth Verdict and the Bimblebox Alliance won their historic legal challenge when the Land Court of Queensland found Clive Palmer’s proposed coal mine would unjustifiably limit the human rights of Queenslanders and First Nations Peoples.
Their victory paved the way for more legal challenges to fossil fuel projects on human rights grounds.
If our case is successful, the court will overturn the approval for Blue Energy’s gasfield and the project will not be allowed to go ahead.