Arrow Energy CEO responds to Hopeland contamination fears
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I refer to the Chinchilla News story, Bid to drill near Hopeland contamination site hits snag, and wish to make some clarifications.
In the years since Linc Energy's operations ceased, there has been an incredible amount of scientific study put into understanding every aspect of this site, above and below ground. Neighbouring landholders have been involved.
Farmers have been rightly wary, as has Arrow and has government.
This has allowed the build-up of robust information to guide decision-making.
The science of what is occurring is now very much better understood.
The facts are these; there is a low likelihood of contaminants leaving the former Linc Energy site, regardless of whether or not Arrow develops coal seam gas in the surrounding area.
The Linc site itself will not be developed and is not part of Arrow's tenure.
The Department of Environment and Science certainly did commission an independent review of Arrow's application to amend its environmental authority over petroleum lease 253 (PL 253), which is part of the rigorous scientific approach that is being applied to understanding the facts.
Despite inflated claims in Lock the Gate's press release, the independent report is largely in alignment with Arrow's modelling of what will occur.
There are some minor differences in the modelled outcomes but, crucially, the independent report concludes that it is unlikely that Arrow's activities would mobilise contaminants from the former Linc Energy gasifiers that would reach a site boundary and that Arrow's modelled transport distances are not unreasonable [page 34, 35].
A simplified, but conservative, assessment was performed herein to assess the transport distance through the porous formation, which indicated that Arrow's transport distances are not unreasonable.
Should hydraulic gradients change so that groundwater flow is towards the boundaries, it is considered unlikely that Arrow's activities would mobilise contaminants from the gasifiers that would reach a site boundary.
However, if - against historical observations and forward modelling - contaminants in the groundwater are shown to be likely to leave the site, there will be many years to implement mitigation measures to prevent this from happening.
These are straightforward engineering solutions.
Arrow and the independent report agree that there is no imminent threat of off-site migration of contaminants.
Arrow stands by its modelling that shows this is most likely to never occur as the contaminants break down and/or are absorbed by the surrounding coal.
Arrow is preparing its response to the independent report for the Department of Environment and Science.
CEO, Arrow Energy