Queensland Watchdog Rejects Liquid CO2 Dumping Plan

A controversial plan to pump liquid carbon dioxide into Queensland’s greatest underground water network has been rejected by the state’s environmental watchdog, in a significant win for concerned graziers.

But agriculture peak bodies have warned the Great Artesian Basin remains under threat and are calling for the state government to immediately put new rules to block other companies and multinationals attempting to sequester carbon there.

Glencore subsidiary CTSCo’s plan was to pump 110,000 tonnes of liquid carbon dioxide a year for three years into an aquifer near Moonie in southern Queensland as trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of carbon capture and storage.

The Department of Environment and Science has ruled Glencore’s plan to sequester carbon in the Great Artesian Basin cannot go ahead “due to potential impacts on groundwater resources”.

The agriculture industry – led by peak bodies including AgForce and the Queensland Farmer’s Federation – have been vehemently opposed to the project’s location as the basin is the water source for 22 per cent of the country.
Hancock Agriculture, owned by Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart, is also opposed.

The environment department, in a statement, confirmed their assessment found the aquifer chosen for the project was “not a confined aquifer, which is a strict requirement of the regulation”.

“The assessment also found that CO2 injected into the aquifer could migrate, likely causing irreversible or long-term change to groundwater quality and environmental values if the project were to proceed,” a spokesman said

“This includes potential increased concentrations of contaminants including chloride, sulfate, salinity, various metals, and metalloids including lead and arsenic.”

QFF chief executive Jo Sheppard said the decision to reject the project is a step in the right direction, but regulations needed to be put in place immediately to protect the basin.

“We know that there are currently two companies with exploration permits for CCS in the GAB and we know that other companies globally are looking at the GAB as a cheap way to conduct CCS at an industrial scale to manage their emissions,” Ms Sheppard said.

“In the absence of federal policy, the Queensland Government can and must now take a leadership role and put regulations in place to protect the Queensland component of the GAB from further CCS bids.

“The EIS decision is now known. The Premier must not delay taking action to respond to the concerns of the people of Queensland.”
Glencore described the decision as “disappointing” and blamed a “damaging misinformation campaign and political opportunism by multiple players”.

“With this decision the Queensland Government has now effectively banned carbon capture and storage projects in Queensland,” a spokesman said.

“It’s a missed opportunity for Queensland and sends mixed messages on emissions reduction to industry who are looking to invest in low emission technologies including CCS.

“It is also in direct opposition to the Albanese Labor Government’s ongoing support for CCS.”

Premier Steven Miles said he was not surprised by the outcome and in his dealings with advocates like the QFF and local mayors, it had become clear the proposal was “not in line with community expectations”.

“My government will consider this decision by DESI and assess next steps,” he said.

One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson, who was instrumental in sparking a senate inquiry into the project, said there were still important issues to unpack particularly around the federal government approval process.

“This is the essence of AgForce’s legal action regarding the trial. Farmers are looking for answers about why this proposal got the green light from Federal authorities, and they deserve to have their say,” she said.

LGAQ chief executive Alison Smith said Queensland councils now wanted to see a moratorium in place to ensure the basin is “protected for future generations, ensuring the very existence of many rural communities is assured”.

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  • One Nation
    published this page in News 2024-05-24 17:42:49 +1000