CXY 0.00% 0.3¢ cougar energy limited

expertise loss hits major queensland gas proje

  1. 130 Posts.
    Haha, the flood gates have opened.

    Only positives for Cougar!


    AN INDEPENDENT report has shown a controversial gas project went ahead with insufficient regulations due to a public service in disarray with critical understaffing, poor guidance and confusion over red tape.

    The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is also quoted in the report admitting it was "impossible for it to audit all individuals and entities within its regulatory function" and that it had lost a lot of expertise to the mining industry.

    The confusion was so bad that at one three-month period, the public servants didn't know who was responsible for overseeing the project and the Petroleum & Gas Unit officer who was responsible admitted that he had never read the full environmental authority (for the project).

    The report from the Queensland Ombudsman, Phil Clarke, investigated how the controversial Cougar Energy underground coal gasification project at Kingaroy was allowed to go ahead and how it was monitored by the Government.
    Digital Pass - $5 weekend papers

    The project was shut down by the Bligh Government and blamed for contaminating groundwater around its site with small traces of BTEX, a potential carcinogen.

    The report said the critical undermanning of the department also meant that "a single officer was responsible for making the decisions previously made by the coordinated assessment committee".

    Mr Clarke said he was concerned that no one with expertise in groundwater science had input into the setting of the conditions for the environmental authority for the Cougar project.

    Damning evidence to the ombudsman showed that the Environmental Protection Authority had been told the UCG project would have a high level impact on a number of issues including water but there was little information to support theory or even demonstrate that the project worked or enable Cougar to accurately predict impacts.

    It also found that while there would be a public impact, no one in Kingaroy, including neighbouring farmers, was consulted and the EPA would have found it difficult to assess public interest in the project because the public didn't know about it.

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said he had only received the complex report yesterday and would look closely at all recommendations.

    "It should be noted that the report concerns decisions and activity occurring five years ago under the previous Labor Government," he said.

    "The Newman government is currently developing new ways of doing business and many of the recommendations either have been, or will likely be, dealt with through that business reform process.

    "I will work through the full report and recommendations over the coming weeks."
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