Landholders launch class action over 'toxic' Linc plant

HOPELAND landholders on the western Darling Downs have instructed law firm Universal Law to launch a class action in respect of damage and other potential harm caused by Linc Energy.

Hopeland Community Sustainability Group spokeswoman Shay Dougall said the class action came after criminal prosecution launched against Linc Energy by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

The department alleges Linc Energy's underground coal gasification mining caused "widespread, of high impact and, in part, irreversible" damage to prime agricultural land in and around the Hopeland area.

Mrs Dougall said solicitor Cameron Bell, of Universal Law, was collecting evidence from landholders about coal seam gas and underground coal gasification mining.

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"Mr Bell has for some time taken an active interest in assisting us with our grievances," she said.

"However, the evidence now obtained by EHP provides the potential for an action against Linc Energy for the harm caused by underground coal gasification activities over the last 10 years.

"For too long we've been expected to sit back quietly and accept the mining companies' assertions that their activities are not affecting our lands, our water and our health.

"Now we want full disclosure from the miners and the government.

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"This class action should serve as a reminder to those responsible for the development of such projects that the interests of corporations should never override the rights of a community to health, water, food, housing.

"The governments that allow these developments must also be held accountable for undertaking adequate risk manage before they're approved and for stringently following-through if they are approved."

"It's just not right that a community is told it must deal with all these problems that have been thrust upon us just so some international mining companies can make a buck, cheered on by both state and federal governments."

A Linc Energy spokesman said: "Linc Energy believes this class action is premature given the Department's case against us is not even at the committal hearing stage.

"Linc Energy is firmly of the view that the department commenced these proceedings without sufficient scientific evidence and, based upon our detailed knowledge of the operations and environment at our demonstration facility, the allegations were taken out of context and/or are simply incorrect.

"Even after extensive regional surveys, the Department sill concludes that there is no risk to public health, air quality, groundwater, surface waters, soils or agricultural productivity."
 



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