Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on August 22.
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The fire last week that consumed 1600 hectares of bush around Bulli Tops, forced the F6 to close, and threatened homes at Darkes Forest also burned right through one of the approved (now lapsed) CSG well sites in the northern Illawarra.
The site of what would have been AI10B is pictured (above right), both before and after the fire. Pink and orange tape in a Banksia marks the site.
Were it not for the extraordinary and tireless efforts of so many in the Illawarra community, standing together to stop CSG, drilling in the area would almost certainly have happened.
This is of enormous concern as CSG is usually methane, a highly explosive and flammable gas. And CSG development means leaks. These leaks come from:
• leaking pipelines, wellheads and processing plants;
• methane in water drawn out of the coal seam; and
• methane escaping through underground systems due to drilling disturbance.
In fact, researchers from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said air sampling of unconventional gas fields in Colorado showed leakage rates of 4% on average, and up to 7.7%.
For some time this community has raised the alarm about introducing CSG fuel to an area prone to bush fire. Adding that amount of fuel to the blaze at Bulli Tops — one firefighters struggled to put out — is a truly frightening idea.