Duo 'step up' protest

Linda Weston and Cameron Mitchell walked 125km to raise awareness about CSG.
Linda Weston and Cameron Mitchell walked 125km to raise awareness about CSG. Claudia Baxter

RAISING awareness about the dangers of coal seam gas was the reason for Croftby residents Linda Weston and son Cameron Mitchell walking from the NSW border to Swanbank.

The duo arrived at the Swanbank Power Station yesterday after a five-and-a-half day trek that also raised funds for the Lock the Gate Alliance as it takes on Arrow Energy's proposed coal seam gas pipeline that is slated to run from Casino to Swanbank.

The pair were met by a group of residents from Ipswich, the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley who are concerned about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the aquifer and river systems in their pristine region.

Lock the Gate Alliance's Ipswich representative Cassie McMahon said the walk was to "make sure that people know what the issues are and how it (the coal seam gas industry) can jeopardise their water security in the future".

The main concern revolves around hydraulic fracturing and the "chemicals distributed throughout the aquifer systems".

"We are wanting the coal seam gas industry to answer more questions and address what our concerns are before they come in and start the process," Ms McMahon said. "The Scenic Rim landholders have very clearly expressed to Arrow Energy they want to have base line testing done on the properties so that if any contamination happens there would be evidence of what the water situation was before the contamination occurred.

"Campbell Newman said he was going to protect the Scenic Rim from coal seam gas production but at this stage we haven't seen him make any move to put that through with legislation."

Ms Weston has great cause to be concerned.

"There is a CSG exploration permit on our property, as there is with other Croftby residents. Allegiance Coal is trying to push ahead with an open-cut coalmine and if it goes ahead one of its boundaries will be 280 metres from our house," she said.

"We are opposing it very strongly because ... I am sure that our place will be worthless and with all the coal dust we won't be able to live there or sell it."

Ms Weston and her son have a recording studio at their home and moved to Croftby because of the pristine environment.

She is "seriously good mates" with her son and enjoyed the 125km walk.

"There was plenty of laughing and bursting into song going on ... and a lot of tooting, waving and people dropping in on camp," she said.

Topics:  coal seam gas, ipswich, protest, swanbank power station



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