Govt may delay projects

LNG approvals on Curtis Island are in jeopardy with speculation the Federal Government environmental assessment will be delayed, insiders say.

The speculations comes only hours after Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) informed the Queensland Government that traces of BTEX have been found in fluid samples taken from eight exploration wells in the Surat Basin, west of Miles.

BTEX is a combination of the chemicals benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes and are constituents of petroleum products, according to the CSIRO.

“BTEX can contaminate air, water or soil and is toxic; benzene, in particular, is a recognized human carcinogen.”

APLNG said the traces were found as part of the company’s testing, from samples of fluids from hydraulic fractured exploration wells.

“However, Australia Pacific LNG does not use BTEX in its fracture fluids and the supplier has confirmed that the fluids do not contain BTEX,” the company said.

“All evidence available to Australia Pacific LNG indicates there has been no impact on surrounding landholder bores.”

Surat Basin Friends of the Earth environmental campaigner Drew Hutton said Australia isn’t prepared with proper environmental plans with an issue as complex as CSG extraction.

“If this has happened on a small scale it’s a warning of what can happen with 40,000 of these gas wells in Queensland,” Mr Hutton said.

The Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke failed to respond to The Observer yesterday, however, his office confirmed that he will not be in Gladstone tomorrow, when he is expected to announce environmental approvals, further raising speculation the approvals may be delayed.

Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said it’s disappointing that the minister cannot see fit to visit Gladstone to explain to the community their decision in regard to this important matter.

“The minister surely understands this matter is vitally important to this community and business needs a decision now, not in three or four week’s time,” Mr O’Dowd said.

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