Gas company fined $4.5 million for serious environmental harm

After a 10 week trial, Linc Energy has been fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs. The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Hopeland near Chinchilla.

The company mismanaged the underground burning of coal seams, which caused rock to fracture and allowed the escape of toxic gases which contaminated the air, soil and water on site. Prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court the company knew it was causing damage but pressed ahead with operations, and described its offending as "serious". "The defendant acted in devious and cavalier way … its motivation was commercial gain," he said. More

Sonja Duncan