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Pollution Concerns Raised after Dead Frogs and Trees Found in the Pilliga

Environment groups have raised concerns about 8 frogs recently found dead in a coal seam gas pond in the Pilliga, near Narrabri, and dead and dying trees adjoining another coal seam gas storage pond in the area (see attached photos).

The groups have decided to report the matters to the Office of Environment and Heritage as a probable pollution event from coal seam gas mining, whilst also seeking their own expert advice.

The groups believe that section 116 of the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 may apply.  It states that:

(1) If a person wilfully or negligently causes any substance to leak, spill or otherwise escape (whether or not from a container) in a manner that harms or is likely to harm the environment:

(a) the person, and

(b) if the person is not the owner of the substance, the owner,

are each guilty of an offence.

“This is another example of the toxic effects of coal seam gas water.  It is clear that coal seam gas companies do not have control of the pollution that results from mining” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment.

“The frogs were found dead in a pond of coal seam gas water near a gas well, and it was clear from the marks in the sand beneath them that they had struggled to escape from the water.

“The dead trees were located in a separate area.  They are recent tree deaths adjoining a major coal seam gas water treatment works in the Pilliga forest.

“Coal seam gas water is very salty water that also contains other toxins such as heavy metals and which causes serious harm to the environment.  Wherever it is released we see these kinds of nasty impacts” said Prue Bodsworth, campaigner with The Wilderness Society.

“Coal seam gas mining will produce vast quantities of this water, and it is obvious that mining companies cannot be trusted to manage this properly.

“The precious and delicate environments of the Pilliga are too  fragile for such a polluting industry –  this natural treasure is no place for a gigantic industrial gas field.

“We would like to see the NSW Government act urgently to investigate these matters” she said.

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