Sunday, June 23, 2024

CCS banned in Queensland GAB

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Future water security has been ensured in the Queensland portion of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), with Premier Steven Miles banning carbon capture and storage last week.

Clifton and Pittsworth currently draw their town water from the Basin.

Greenhouse gas storage activities, including carbon capture and storage projects, will be permanently prohibited in the basin as part of the move to protect the critically important resource.

The ban also extends to enhanced oil or petroleum recovery activities that use a greenhouse gas stream.

The ban, which will be legislated, clarifies that activities involving greenhouse gas storage or the injection of a greenhouse gas stream into underground formations within the Great Artesian Basin are not permissible.

These activities may be able to continue in other parts of the State subject to rigorous existing assessment and approval processes.

To support this, a Technical Expert Panel will review the safety aspects of greenhouse gas storage for areas outside the GAB.

The Panel will be appointed soon and will report back in 2025.

The upcoming State Budget will also provide up to $32 million to continue the successful bore capping program, with Queensland seeking a matching contribution from the Australian Government.

This funding will support the implementation of the Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers Water Plan, which requires all artesian stock and domestic bored to have watertight delivery systems by 2032.

Almost 770 bores have been rehabilitated and 450 drains piped.

Around 15,000 kilometres of open drains have been decommissioned over the years.

This has saved more than 226,000 megalitres of water.

Groundwater pressure is increasing in the GAB thanks to this capping and piping work.

The increased water pressure is resulting in the re-emergence of natural springs and wetland ecosystems, providing important habitats for native wildlife and plants.

Premier Miles said the ban will benefit the environment, for farmers, and for the GAB.

“I think the Great Artesian Basin’s unique environmental, agricultural, economic and cultural significance is worth protecting,” Mr Miles said.

“It’s why I will be legislating to prohibit carbon capture and storage projects in the Great Artesian Basin here in Queensland.

“I’ve listened to Queenslanders and I am making sure our government is doing what matters for the natural phenomenon that is the Great Artesian Basin.

“We will continue to review the safety aspects of greenhouse gas storage in the state to support future generations of Queenslanders and to ensure the Queensland’s great natural environment is preserved.”

Carbon Capture and Storage involves securing greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes and injecting them into underground geological formations for storage which prevents its release into the atmosphere.

Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation (CTSCo), a subsidiary of Glencore, proposed injecting CO2 into the Precipice Sandstone within the Great Artesian Basin – the largest underground freshwater resource in Australia which lies beneath parts of Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, and New South Wales.

Following a rigorous three-year assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Queensland’s independent environmental regulator has determined that the project is not suitable to proceed due to potential impacts on groundwater resources in the Great Artesian Basin.

CTSCo had planned to dispose of carbon dioxide produced from the Millmerran Power Station at a location near Moonie, transported via road.

A Department of Environment, Science and Innovation report said the trial proposed injecting 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year for three years into the Precipice Sandstone aquifer (PSA) at a depth of approximately 2,300 metres below ground level.

On Our Selection News, 6 June 2024

This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 6 June 2024.

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