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US environmental journo sounds warning on industry impacts

KEEN OBSERVER: US environmental journalist Ari Phillips is in Gladstone for two weeks to learn more about the LNG and construction industry.
KEEN OBSERVER: US environmental journalist Ari Phillips is in Gladstone for two weeks to learn more about the LNG and construction industry. Brenda Strong

US journalist Ari Phillips has travelled to Gladstone to see how the Texas oil and gas industry compared to Australia's LNG boom.

And the Think Progress environmental reporter has found a few similarities.

Both Queensland and some Texan towns are responsible for the production of shale oil and coal seam gas.

The proposed fourth LNG plant on Curtis Island, Gladstone is partly owned by Shell Oil, that also operates in DISH, Texas.

Ari, 29, said shale oil drilling was big in the US and bigger than Queensland's coal seam gas industry.

The social and environmental impacts felt in industrial towns are also shared, with soaring house prices, rent and failure to attract non-industry workers to town also proving problematic.

"A town called Midland, Texas is also going through a mining boom," Ari said.

"Some hotels are finding it difficult to attract restaurant staff."

Ari came to Gladstone off the back of advice from Australian environmental journalists.

He was told that Gladstone was where the construction industry was booming.

During his stay he is hoping to attend Curtis Island and Rio Tinto Alcan industry tours.

Ari also said he had noticed health problems in US industrial towns.

"A city called Corpus Christi (on the Texas coast) has a lot of air pollution," Ari said.

"Local communities are living next to the plants and they have health problem in the area as well.

"They have elevated cancer rates - kids are getting nosebleeds."

Topics:  gas industry gladstone industry lng



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