The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority is investigating community and media reports of a gas release from the AGL coal seam gas site at Camden in Sydney last night (August 31). According to The Greens, AGL has breached its license in the area multiple times and residents have been afraid to speak up because of potential property price impacts.
The EPA said AGL told the agency this morning that the alleged leak was a pressure release from gas well number five at Spring Farm that occurred when the gas well was brought back online. An EPA officer today attended the site to inspect the well and conduct monitoring for methane emissions.
NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said AGL had breached its environmental pollution license “multiple times” at the South West Sydney operations, particularly in relation to air pollution releases and monitoring failures.
“They’ve been placed on an Enforceable Undertaking, yet the EPA always lets them off with a small fine and a slap on the wrist, rather than prosecution,” Mr Buckingham said.
“This latest gas leak underlines why residential areas are absolutely the wrong place for a coal seam gas field. AGL’s plans to frack near homes in Gloucester and expand into other areas of Sydney should be rejected outright and stopped immediately.”
Mr Buckingham was a witness to the alleged leak at a coal seam gas well only 200 metres away from homes at Spring Farm, near Campbelltown.
He said a hissing sound could be heard, and that residents said they were concerned gas could be smelt in their houses. The fire brigade formed a cordon around the area.
“I have spoken to a number of the residents who are very distressed. They are worried about their health and safety, especially as many of the residents are families with small children, but are concerned about speaking about the issue because of the implications this may have for their property values,” Mr Buckingham said.