Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Lobby group giving farmers a bad name



The Guardian, 2 May 2019:

The Queensland farm lobby AgForce has deleted more than a decade worth of data from a government program that aims to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef, in response to state government moves to introduce new reef protection laws.

Guardian Australia revealed in June that the state’s auditor general had raised concerns that agriculture industry groups had refused to share data from the “best management practices” program due to privacy concerns.

In recent months, AgForce and others had campaigned against the imposition of new reef protection regulations, which set sediment “load limits” in reef catchments and impose new standards on farmers.

The proposed new laws, which have been introduced to state parliament, also include a provision to allow the environment minister to obtain data from agricultural groups……

The Queensland environment minister, Leeanne Enoch, told the Courier-Mail the decision flushed “so much work and the taxpayer dollars that have been supporting it out to sea”.

“AgForce often claims that they are true environmentalists but this decision is not the action of a group that wants to protect the environment,” she said.

The Queensland audit office last year found that the success of the best management practices program could not be properly measured because the agricultural groups that receive government funding would not provide data on whether producers had actually improved their practices.

“This detailed information is currently held by the industry groups,” the report said. “Despite this work being funded by government, the information is not provided to government due to privacy concerns from the industry.

“These data restrictions mean government does not have full visibility of the progress made and cannot measure the degree of practice change or assess the value achieved from its investment of public funds.

“This means that the reported proportion of lands managed using best management practice systems could be overstated.”

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Est. 32 per cent of Australian farmers still haven't come to grips with the reality of climate change



ABC News, 31 March 2019:

When the Reserve Bank announced recently that it was factoring climate change into interest rate calculations, it underlined a mainstream acceptance of potential impacts for a warming planet.

Climate change now had economic consequences.

But resistance to the premise of human-induced climate change still rages, including in regional and rural communities, which often are the very communities already feeling its effects.

"When you look at the results of different surveys going back a few years, farmers were four times more likely than the national average to be climate change deniers," said Professor Mark Howden, director at the ANU's Climate Change Institute.

"That was about 32 per cent versus about 8 per cent for the population average."

So, why do so many people in regional and rural areas not believe in climate change?
ABC Central West's Curious project put that question to some experts, who say the answer has more to do with human nature than scientific reasoning.

Professor Matthew Hornsey from the University of Queensland has dedicated his academic career to understanding why people reject apparently reasonable messages.

"The metaphor that's used in my papers is around what we call cognitive scientists versus cognitive lawyers," he said.

"What we hope people do when they interpret science is that they weigh it up in an independent way and reach a conclusion.

"But in real life, people behave more like lawyers, where they have a particular outcome that they have in mind and then they selectively interpret the evidence in a way that prosecutes the outcome they want to reach.

"So you selectively expose yourself to information, you selectively critique the information, you selectively remember the information in a way that reinforces what your gut is telling you."

This is known as motivated reasoning — and online news source algorithms and social forums are only enabling the phenomenon, allowing for further information curation for the individual…..

Professor Hornsey says there is another force fanning the flames of distrust between the scientific and non-scientific communities.

"One thing that can be said without huge amounts of controversy is that there is a relationship between political conservatism and climate scepticism in Australia," he said.

To better understand this, the professor's research took him to 27 countries and found that for two-thirds of these, there was no relationship between being politically conservative and a climate science sceptic.

But Australia's relationship between the two trailed only the United States in strength of connection, he said.

"What we were seeing was the greater the per-capita carbon emissions of a country, the greater that relationship between climate scepticism and conservatism."

Professor Hornsey argues that per-capita carbon emissions is an indicator for fossil fuel reliance, which in turn creates greater stakes for the vested interests at play.

"When the stakes are high and the vested interests from the fossil fuel community are enormous, you see funded campaigns of misinformation, coaching conservatives what to think about climate change," he said.

"That gets picked up by conservative media and you get this orchestrated, very consistent, cohesive campaign of misinformation to send the signal that the science is not yet in."…..

Professor Hornsey believes current discourse can make farmers feel as though they are at the centre of an overwhelming societal problem, triggering further psychological rejection of the science.

"I feel sorry for farmers around the climate change issue, because this is a problem that has been caused collectively.

"Farmers are only a small part of the problem but they are going to be a huge part of the solution, so I think they feel put upon.

"They feel like they are constantly being lectured about their need to make sacrifices to adapt to a set of circumstances that are largely out of their control."

In 2010, in response to a drought policy review panel, the Commonwealth initiated a pilot of drought reform measures in Western Australia.

John Noonan from Curtin University led the program, which went on to have staggering success in converting not only participating farmers' attitudes to climate science, but also in restructuring their farm management models in response to a changing climate.

"First of all, when talking with farmers, we didn't call it the drought pilot — we used the name Farm Resilience Program," Mr Noonan said.

"If you go in to beat people up and have a climate change conversation, you get nowhere.

"We got the farmers to have conversations about changing rainfall patterns and continuing dry spells, rather than us telling them what to do.

"And they told us everything that we needed them to tell us for us to reflect that back to them and say, 'Well, actually, that's climate change'.

"If you take a very left-brain, very scientific approach to these matters, you are going nowhere, and what we used was very right-brain, very heart and gut-driven — and it worked."

Mr Evans agrees, underscoring the deeply personal connection farmers have to the land, its role in their business approach, and why the message must be managed psychologically rather than scientifically.

"Ultimately, for a farmer to confront the reality that this new climate might be permanent, requires them to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance."

The full article can be read here.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Whitehaven Coal’s Vickery mine extension community consultation has farmers up in arms

Whitehaven Coal Vickery Forest coal mining operation, 2018


Maules Creek section of coal mining operation, 2018

Whitehaven Coal Limited is seeking planning permission to extend its existing mining infrastructure footprint approx. 22kms north of Gunnedah in north-west NSW, by adding a coal processing hub with an on site coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), train load-out facility and rail spur line to service its open cut mines at Tarrawonga, Rocglen and Werris Creek.

Quite naturally local rural communities are concerned…….

The Northern Daily Leader, 5 October 2018:

The Greens have condemned NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and called his decision to ignore the plea of drought-stricken farmers “the height of arrogance”.

The spraying follows comments Mr Roberts made to The Leader yesterday, where he referred to the 4000-page Vickery coal mine extension report as a “relatively short document”, as he knocked back the request of farmers for more time to read the submission.

Farmers say they are struggling to find time to read and understand the massive document, let alone write a response to it, when they are hand feeding cattle.
Greens resource spokesman Jeremy Buckingham wrote to Mr Roberts in September, seeking to extend the public consultation time from 42 days to 90 days, however is yet to receive a response.

“Minister Anthony Roberts has displayed the height of arrogance in ignoring local farmers and communities and failing to give them a fair chance of responding to a 4000-page document on Vickery coal mine,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Minister Roberts has failed to acknowledge that many local folks are flat out keeping their livestock and farms alive in drought conditions.

“Local farmers and community members have asked for an reasonable extension of time to read thousands of pages of documents and make a considered response, but the Minister won’t listen.

“What does the NSW Government have to hide on this Vickery coal mine proposal?”...

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Adani Group has Morrison, Price, Littleproud & Taylor wrapped around its little finger


Since September 2013 the Australian Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government has been a rolling national disaster.

This latest episode appears to have its roots in the hard right's commitment to dismantle environmental protections.

Especially replacing Labor's "water trigger" amendment to the ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 with a band-aid which fooled no-one.

ABC News, 25 September 2018:

A farmer has been denied access to a river system Adani plans on drawing 12.5 billion litres of water from in what activists are calling a "double standard", documents obtained under freedom of information laws show.

The mining giant plans to take 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River every year, nearly as much as all local farmers combined.

Despite this amount, the documents show at least one irrigator had their application for a water licence rejected in 2011, leading activists to claim farmers were assessed more harshly than Adani.

The documents also show the modelling used by the company to predict the impacts of the water usage ignored the past 14 years of rainfall data and, despite planning to take water until 2077, it did not take into account the impacts of climate change.


"Altogether, this underscores how poor the decision was last week to allow 12.5 billion litres to be taken without assessment," Carmel Flint from anti-mining group Lock The Gate Alliance said. The group obtained the documents under Queensland's Right To Information laws.....

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Anthropomorphic Global Warming in Australia 2018


Australians have been told repeatedly that global warming leading to climate change is real.

The continent is becomng dryer, record air and ground temperatures are no longer novel, heavy rain events are predicted to become more destructive, mass flora and fauna extinctions are expected and the coastline is beginning to erode faster than at the historical rate.

It's not just happenng in Australia, other continents are also experience climate change and, the one factor most have in common is generations of ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions produced by both households and industries in metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

Everyone bears some responsibility for where the world finds itself......


In the first quarter of 2018 Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions will be over MT 7.3 CO2-e  higher than the national Paris ERT commitment made on our behalf by the Australian Government.

Over one quarter of Australia’s CO2-e budget for 2013 to 2050 has already been spent in the last 4.75 years.

AUSTRALIA’S ANNUAL EMISSIONS, CALENDAR YEAR TO SEPTEMBER 2017*


* This graph includes both published Government NGGI data and Ndevr Environmental projections for Q4/FY2017 and Q1/FY2018

BY  SECTOR 2005-2017
~~~~~~~~~~~

World-wide, land used for non-animal and animal-based agriculture in 2017 was estimated to produce 24% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.


66.3% from enteric fermentation in ruminant livestock (eructation and flatulence)

15.5% from agricultural soils

10.8% from prescribed burning of savannas

3.9% from manure management

2.4% from liming and urea application

and the remainder from rice cultivation and field burning of agricultural residues.

Total greenhouse gas emissions from world-wide food systems in 2012 contributed between 19% to 29% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030 the combined greenhouse gas emissions from global food production is expected to double.

~~~~~~~~~~~

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting, Australia’s highest 10 greenhouse gas emitters 2016–17

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The people of the Liverpool Plains versus Santos and its irresponsible domestic and international shareholders


Oil and gas mining corporation Santos Limited is currently seeking approval to drill up to 850 natural gas wells on est. 425 sites over 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga Forest region of north-west New South Wales. 

Pilliga Forest is consdered a rare example of intact temperate forest and covers an est. 300,000 hectares sitting atop a recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Santos presents itself as an Australian company, yet two affilated Chinese companys hold over 624 million voting shares in the companyand its top institutional shareholders contain the usual mix of international banks, finance and investment companies2.

In its 2017 annual report Santos admits; A range of environmental risks exist within oil and gas exploration and production activities3

This is the response of the people living on the Liverpool Plains. 


The backyard of New South Wales is facing its biggest threat yet – invasive gasfields. Betrayal by governments has meant protectors are fighting to save the things they love. The Pilliga, Great Artesian Basin, Liverpool Plains – all are at risk. This is a David and Goliath battle to save our land, air and water from destruction. It’s also a fight for the soul and future of Australia. In this film we meet the experts and people living in the sacrifice zone and uncover the truth behind the real gas crisis confronting ordinary Australians.

https://youtu.be/h3h1FxwI1CE

Footnotes
1. As of 27 June 2017 Hony Partners Group, L.P and ENN Ecological Holdings Co Ltd acting in concert
2. At Page 130 https://www.santos.com/media/4319/2017-annual-report.pdf.
3. 15 February 2017 Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection fined Santos  $12,190 for non-compliance with a Soils Management Plan.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lock The Gate back in court asking questions about "secretive deals" between NSW Coalition Government and Shenhua mining group


NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO):


Our client Lock the Gate is seeking access to information held by the NSW Government about secretive deals relating to the “buy-back” of the coal exploration licence for Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Limited’s (Shenhua) controversial Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine in the Liverpool Plains in north central NSW, one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.

Lock the Gate argues that the public has a right to know about deals made behind closed doors in relation to the exploration and development of the proposed Watermark coal mine. Lock the Gate argues that accountability and transparency in this case are essential given the significant predicted impacts of the Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains, the nation’s agricultural industry, local communities and the environment.

On behalf of Lock the Gate, we are asking the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to decide that the release of this information is in the public interest.


Farmland on the Liverpool Plains. Photo: Lock the Gate Alliance.

Background

In July and September 2017, respectively, Lock the Gate made applications to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet for information about Shenhua’s application to renew its exploration licence for the Watermark mine. That information encompasses secretive dealings between Shenhua and the NSW Government that resulted in the buy-back of around 51% of the exploration licence, which covered the highly fertile “black soils” of the Liverpool Plains, at the cost of $262 million to the public.

Whilst the NSW Government claims that the buy-back was necessary to protect the black soils from mining, and thereby the agricultural industry of the Liverpool Plains, Lock the Gate contends that the buy-back will do nothing to lessen the expected impacts of the mine. Furthermore, Lock the Gate argues that the buy-back was completely unnecessary. The NSW Government could have used its powers under the Mining Act to reduce the size of the exploration licence by 50% upon its renewal without the payment of any compensation to Shenhua.The NSW Government could also have cancelled the exploration licence outright given that Shenhua had allegedly failed to comply with a condition of the licence that required substantial development of the Watermark mine to have commenced by October 2016, eight years after the initial grant of the licence in 2008.

The information sought by Lock the Gate includes Shenhua’s submissions on the licence renewal application, its request for the abovementioned licence condition to be suspended, Ministerial briefings and draft deeds of agreement about coal exploration and mining titles. The NSW Government has withheld this information on the basis that, amongst other things, it contains Cabinet information, was provided in confidence, or that its release may be prejudicial to Shenhua’s business interests – and therefore that there is an overriding public interest against its disclosure.
On the contrary, Lock the Gate argues that the overwhelming public interest in the release of the information is clear.

Access to this information will increase the accountability and transparency of the NSW Government in relation to the exploration and development of coal in the Liverpool Plains. This is particularly important in these circumstances where the Government has done deals with a private, foreign-owned, coal mining company behind closed doors and these have resulted in the expenditure of vast amounts of public funds without clear justification.

Access to this information is also vital for the public to have confidence in the decision-making processes of the NSW Government in relation to dealings about coal mining and exploration projects. This is essential where these dealings involve projects that are likely to have significant economic, social and environmental impacts and in which a number of stakeholders have expressed competing views. 

The more transparency around those deliberative processes, the more likely it is that they will be of high quality and will serve the public interest.

The matter is listed for hearing on 9 May 2018.

Brendan Dobbie, solicitor for EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for Lock the Gate and our Principal Solicitor, Elaine Johnson, is the solicitor on record.

We are grateful to barrister Scott Nash for his assistance in this matter.


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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Murray-Darling Basin: water mismanagement just keeps rolling on


Image sourced from Twitter

Having miserably failed to enforce even the most basic of safeguards against widespread water theft in the Murray Darling Basin - such as not allowing unmetered water extraction -  the Murray Darling Basin Authority and then water resources minister and now humble Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce have left us having to rely on leaks to the media to find out the true state of play in the national water wars.


The ailing state of the Darling River has been traced to man-made water extraction, according to a leaked report by the agency charged with overseeing its health.
The "hydrologic investigation", dated last November and obtained by Fairfax Media, analysed more than 2000 low-flow events from 1990-2017 on the Barwon-Darling River between Mungindi near the NSW-Queensland border down to Wilcannia in far-western NSW .

The draft report – a version of which is understood to have been sent to the Turnbull government for comment – comes days after WaterNSW issued a red alert for blue-green algae on the Lower Darling River at Pooncarie and Burtundy.


The paper by Murray-Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA) own scientists found flow behaviour had changed since 2000, particularly in mid-sections of the river such as between the towns of Walgett and Brewarrina.

On that section, low or no-flow periods were "difficult to reconcile with impacts purely caused by climate", the scientists said.

Indeed, dry periods on the river downstream from Bourke were "significantly longer than pre-2000", with the dry spells during the millennium drought continuing afterwards.

Water resource development – also described as "anthropogenic impact" – must also play "a critical role" in the low flows between Walgett and Brewarrina, the report said.
The revelations come after the Senate last month voted to disallow changes to the $13 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan that would have cut annual environmental water savings by 70 billion litres…..

A spokeswoman for the authority said the report was "undergoing quality assurance processes prior to publication", with a formal release on its website likely in coming days.

The MDBA commissioned the internal team to "address some of the specific concerns raised" by its own compliance reviews and those of the Berejiklian government, she said.

Terry Korn, president of the Australian Floodplain Association,  said the report confirmed what his group's members had known since the O'Farrell government changed the river's water-sharing plan in 2012 to allow irrigators to pump even during low-flow periods.

Poor policy had been compounded by "totally inadequate monitoring and compliance systems", Mr Korn said.

"Some irrigators have capitalised on this poor management by the NSW government to such an extent that their removal of critical low flows has denied downstream landholders and communities their basic riparian rights to fresh clean water," he said. "This is totally unacceptable."….

Fairfax Media also sought comment from federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

Once publicly outed for sitting on the review report the Murray Darling Basin Authority finally decided to publish it this week.
https://www.scribd.com/document/372999806/Murray-Darling-Basn-Compliance-Review-Final-Report-November-2017


The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 2018:

The NSW government intervened to urge the purchase of water rights from a large irrigator on the Darling River that delivered a one-off $37 million profit to its owner while leaving downstream users struggling with stagnant flows.

Gavin Hanlon, the senior NSW water official who resigned last September amid multiple inquiries into allegations of water theft and poor compliance by some large irrigators, wrote to his federal counterparts in the Agriculture and Water Resources Department, then headed by Barnaby Joyce, in late December 2016 urging the buyback of water from Tandou property to proceed.

The Tandou water purchase proposal "should be progressed...given the high cost of the alternative water supply solution" for the property south-east of Broken Hill, Mr Hanlon wrote, according to a document sent on December 23, 2016 and obtained by Fairfax Media.

Early in 2017, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimated the property's annual water entitlements of 21.9 billion litres to be $24,786,750 "based on recent trade values", according to another document listed as "Commercial in Confidence".

Despite this valuation, the federal government by 16 March, 2017 would pay Tandou's owner Webster Ltd more than $78 million. At its announcement on 21 June last year, Webster said in a statement it "expects to record a net profit on disposal in the order of $36-37 million".

The transfer of the water rights are apparently the subject of inquiries by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, with several people saying they have discussed their knowledge of the deal with the agency. An ICAC spokeswoman declined to comment.


Liberal Party donor Christopher Darcy “Chris” Corrigan is Executive Chairman and a significant shareholder in this company

Friday, 16 February 2018

Failed coal seam gas mining company Linc Energy's 9 week trial underway in Queensland, Australia


As the story unfolded.........

ABC News, 16 April 2016:

Oil and gas company Linc Energy has been placed into administration in a bid to avoid penalties for polluting the environment, a Queensland green group says.

It was announced late Friday that administrators PPB Advisory had been called in to work with Linc's management on options including a possible restructure.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said after receiving legal and financial advice and considering commercial prospects the board decided it was in the best interests of the company to make the move.

It comes one month after the company was committed to stand trial on five charges relating to breaches in Queensland's environmental laws at its underground coal gasification site.

The state's environment department accused the company of wilfully causing serious harm at its trial site near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs.

Drew Hutton from the Lock the Gate Alliance said the company could face up to $56 million in fines if found guilty, but the penalty might never be paid.

"It is going to be difficult to get any money out of this company now that it is in administration," he said.


Mr Hutton said going into administration was a common legal manoeuvre to dodge fines and costly clean-ups......

Queensland Government, Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection, 29 January 2018:

Environmental Protection Order directed to Linc

Prior to Linc entering liquidation, DES issued Linc with an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) which required it to retain critical infrastructure on-site, conduct a site audit and undertake basic environmental monitoring to characterise the current status of the site.

Linc’s liquidators launched a legal challenge associated with this EPO in the Supreme Court seeking orders that they were justified in not causing Linc to comply with the EPO (or any future EPO). DES opposed this application.

In April 2017, the Supreme Court directed that Linc’s liquidators are not justified in causing Linc not to comply with the EPO. The Court accepted DES’ argument that the relevant provisions of the EP Act prevail over the Commonwealth Corporations Act and that Linc’s liquidators are executive officers of the company. Subject to any appeal decision, this confirms DES’s ability to enforce compliance with environmental obligations owed by resource companies who have gone into administration or liquidation.

Linc’s liquidators have since appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. This appeal was heard in September 2017 and the decision was reserved.

Environmental Protection Order directed to a related person of Linc

DES used the ‘chain of responsibility’ amendments to the EP Act to issue an EPO to a ‘related person’ of Linc. The EPO requires the recipient to take steps to decommission most of the site’s dams and provide a bank guarantee of $5.5 million to secure compliance with the order.

The recipient of the EPO has appealed to the Planning and Environment Court and that litigation is ongoing.

The recipient of the EPO also applied for an order that the appeal be allowed and the EPO be set aside on the basis that DES denied him procedural fairness. The Planning and Environment Court dismissed that application. The recipient of the EPO appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal. That appeal was heard in March 2017 and judgment in favour of DES was delivered in August 2017. Subject to any further appeal, this decision confirms that the recipient was not denied procedural fairness and that DES’ interpretation of the EP Act was correct.

The earlier appeal in relation to the EPO (regarding the substance of the document) is yet to be heard by the Planning and Environment Court.

Investigation and prosecution of Linc and former executives

Linc Energy Limited will stand trial in the Brisbane District Court, commencing 29 January 2018, on five counts of wilfully causing serious environmental harm, in contravention of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

All counts relate to operations at the Linc Energy underground coal gasification site near Chinchilla, from approximately 2007 to 2013, and allege that contaminants were allowed to escape as a result of the operation.

In addition, the Queensland Government has charged five former Linc Energy executives over the operation of the UCG site in Chinchilla. A committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court is expected to take place in mid-2018.

As these matters remain before the courts, DES is unable to comment further on the legal proceedings.

Media releases


ABC News, 30 January 2018:

A landmark case described by a District Court judge as "unusual" will hear how gas company Linc Energy allegedly contaminated strategic cropping land causing serious environmental damage to parts of Queensland's Western Downs.

Linc Energy is charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Chinchilla.

The charges relate to alleged contamination at Linc Energy's Hopeland underground coal gasification (UCG) plant.

The trial will enter its second day today in the District Court in Brisbane, with crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC expected to begin his opening address to the empanelled jury later this morning.

Former Linc Energy scientists, geologists, and engineers as well as several investigators from the Queensland Environment Department are among those expected to give evidence.

Echo NetDaily, 30 January 2018:

BRISBANE, AAP – A failed energy company accused of knowingly and illegally polluting a significant part of Queensland’s Darling Downs has faced trial in a landmark criminal case in Brisbane.

Linc Energy is charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 after allegedly allowing toxic gas to leak from its operations.

The Brisbane District Court trial has heard Linc’s four underground coal gasification (UCG) sites and water were polluted to the point it was unfit for stock to consume but the company kept operating.

Crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC told the jury the company allowed hazardous contaminants to spread even after scientists and workers warned about gases bubbling from the ground.

Linc operated four UCG sites in Chinchilla where it burnt coal underground at very high temperatures to create gas.

In his opening address on Tuesday, Mr Devlin said scientists warned senior managers about the risk environmental harm was being caused throughout the operation…..

 ‘Bond prioritised Linc’s commercial interests over the requirements of operating its mining activity in an environmentally safe manner,’ Mr Devlin said.

‘Linc did nothing to stop, mitigate or rehabilitate the state of affairs that Linc itself had caused.’

As part of the UCG process, Linc injected air into the ground, which created and enlarged fractures.

It tried to concrete surface cracks and use wells to control pressure but they didn’t sufficiently reduce risks or damage, the court heard.

‘Linc kept going, even knowing the measures weren’t working,’ Mr Devlin said.

Scientists who visited the site are due to give evidence during the nine-week trial, but no senior managers from the company, which is in liquidation, will take the stand.

The trial continues.

ABC News, 8 February 2018:

Workers at an underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's Western Darling Downs were told to drink milk and eat yoghurt to protect their stomachs from acid, a court has heard.

The gas company has pleaded not guilty to five counts of causing serious environmental harmfrom its underground coal gasification operations between 2007 and 2013 in Chinchilla.

The corporation is not defending itself as it is in liquidation so there is no-one in the dock or at the bar table representing the defence.

A witness statement by former gas operator Timothy Ford was read to the court, which he prepared in 2015 before his death.

The court was not told how Mr Ford died.

He said the gas burnt his eyes and nose and he would need to leave the plant after work to get fresh air because it made him feel sick.

"We were told to drink milk in the mornings and at the start of shift… we were also told to eat yoghurt," he said.

"The purpose of this was to line our guts so the acid wouldn't burn our guts.

"We were not allowed to drink the tank water and were given bottled water."

Mr Ford said he always felt lethargic, suffered infections and had shortness of breath.

"During my time at the Linc site, would be the sickest I have been," he said.

"It is my belief that workplace was causing my sickness.

"I strongly feel that the Linc site was not being run properly due to failures of the wells and gas releases.".....

Sunshine Coast Daily, 9 February 2018:

A CONCRETE pumper says he saw 'black tar' seeping up at a Linc Energy site and raised concerns with the company.

Robert Arnold has told a court he noticed some odd occurrences when he went to the Chinchilla site in late 2007……

On Thursday, Mr Arnold told jurors he noticed several phenomena at the site.
"We saw bubbles coming up ... and a black tar substance. We commented back to Linc about it."

"A few of us went over and had a look ... basically it just looked like a heavy black oil ... it was in the puddles as well, in the same area," Mr Arnold added.

"We couldn't place our equipment close to the well because of these overhead pipes ... it was dripping out of the joints."

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin earlier claimed a "bubbling" event happened on the ground after rainfall at the coal gasification site.

Mr Arnold told jurors that after discussing the oozing substance, concrete trucks turned up and he pumped the concrete into a well.

Mr Arnold said he felt the concrete used that time was "very light" but the on-site supervisor made that decision.

Prosecutors previously told the court concerns were raised at various times with Linc leadership about the quality of cement and geological data used at the site.

The Crown has also claimed Linc used its underground wells in a way that made them fail, and allowed contaminants to escape far way, to places Linc could not remove them.

BACKGROUND
Wikipedia, 5 February 2018:

Linc started its Chinchilla Demonstration Facility in July 1999. First gas was produced in that very same year. Initially Linc Energy used the underground coal gasification technology worked out by Ergo Exergy Technologies, Inc, of Canada. 

However, in 2006 the cooperation with Ergo Exergy was terminated and the cooperation agreement for technology usage, consultation and engineering services was signed with the Skochinsky Institute of Mining and the Scientific-Technical Mining Association of Russia.[2]

In 2005, Linc signed a memorandum with Syntroleum granting a licence to use the Syntroleum's proprietary gas-to-liquid technology and started to build a GTL pilot plant in November 2007 at the Chinchilla facility. The plant was commissioned in August 2008. The first synthetic crude was produced in October 2008.[3]