Environmental Protection Authority should launch investigation into claims of coal seam gas water pollution

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The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) should launch a full investigation into claims Coal Seam Gas operations have discharged polluted water into the Murray Darling Basin, Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"The EPA needs to launch an investigation into claims polluted water from Coal Seam Gas operations is being discharged into the Murray Darling Basin and if this is a breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (1997)," Mr Foley said.

"Independent research released today claims polluted water is being released from Coal Seam Gas operations in the Pilliga Forest into the Bohena Creek system, which leads into the Murray Darling Basin.

"The research also claims ammonia levels in the water are three times the safe drinking water guidelines.

"If polluted water is being discharged into the Bohena Creek system, it would be in breach of section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.

"Environment Minister Robyn Parker has made great claims about the effectiveness of the EPA under her government. This matter is a test for the environmental regulator.

"The Eastern Star Gas (now Santos) proposal for the Pilliga would see the sinking of 1,100 wells, 1,000 kilometres of roads and pipelines and the fragmentation of 85,000 hectares of this precious woodland.

"The Pilliga is one of 15 national biodiversity hotspots identified by the Federal Government and is the largest temperate woodland left in Australia.

"The NSW Opposition is calling on the O'Farrell Government to cease issuing Coal Seam Gas extraction licences and refuse applications to expand existing operations until a scientific consensus on its impact can be reached.

"It is appropriate that the EPA fully investigate claims of water pollution from Coal Seam Gas mining in the Pilliga Forest."