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Nurse questions coal seam gas

Jan Younger
Jan Younger

A REGISTERED nurse who has plans to do a doctorate of philosophy (PHD) on "the truth about coal seam gas" has questioned the credibility of the gas industry claims that the public had nothing to worry about on the health front.

"I must question the comment in the Examiner on Friday, May 4 that coal seam gas mining is 'safe'," said Glenugie resident Jan Younger, who has become a spokesperson for Lock the Gate - Pillar Valley.

"You only have to look at the reports, media and publications from North America and Queensland to see that there are real health risk from coal seam gas mining."

Ms Younger, who is a registered midwife, holds a masters degree in international health management and a graduate diploma in health management, said testing in the US showed that the health of people who lived up to 7km away from an active CSG well could be affected by poor air quality.

"The American Academy of Paediatrics has published a list of recommendations to monitor for negative health impacts on children and pregnant women living in environments where coal seam gas is mined.

"There are reports from Queensland of children crying and breaking out in rash after bathing in bore water near CSG."

Ms Younger said farmers and their families near active CSG wells had reported being unable to stay on their land due to headaches after coal seam gas production started.

"These people unable to sell up have left their properties and become coal seam gas refugees.

"Have a look at the 'GetUp' video on their website. A Queensland mother reports the headaches and nose bleeds that started after wells have been drilled around their home.

"In an air sampling study from 2005 to 2007 conducted in Colorado, researchers found that air benzene concentrations approached or exceeded health-based standards at sites associated with oil or gas drilling.

"Benzene exposure during pregnancy has been associated with neural tube defects decreased birth parameters and childhood leukemia.

"I challenge the coal seam gas mining companies to show their proof that coal seam gas mining is safe and will not pollute our air and water ... there needs to be an independent baseline measurements of air and water quality before the mining starts.

"Surely it is the role of coal seam gas mining companies and the government who approves these activities to prove their activity is safe.

"Who are you going to believe, the good people of Queensland or coal seam gas mining companies?

"In the battle of credibility, you need to be aware of those with vested interests who stand to make massive profits from coal seam gas mining.

"They need you to believe CSG mining is not harmful to you or your grandchildren's health."

Most of the members of Lock the Gate - Pillar Valley are not activists or environmentalists, she said.

"They are ordinary people who don't want their properties to be devalued and don't want their traditional farming lifestyle threatened, they are mums and dads who don't want to live in fear about their families' health."

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson responded to Ms Younger's claims saying the industry adhered to a strong regulatory regime with internationally-recognised standards.

"The coal seam gas industry is safe, highly regulated and well understood," he said.

"There is no credible evidence that CSG operations have a negative impact on humans and livestock.

"Oil and gas operations have been in existence for over 100 years and have had an enormously beneficial impact on our society, without the adverse impacts that are inferred by the media release.

"Similarly, CSG operations have operated safely in Australia for over 16 years and following extensive reviews have the support of Australian, Queensland and NSW governments."

Topics:  coal seam gas, gas industry, jan younger, phd, registered nurse


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