Monday, 28 January 2013 15:27
The release of water from coal mines in flooded central Queensland is putting the region's fresh water supply at risk, environmentalists say.
Four BHP Mitsubishi Alliance mines in the Fitzroy River basin were last week allowed to carry out controlled releases of water in a pilot program announced by the state government last November.
Queensland Greens member and environmental medicine specialist Andrew Jeremijenko said the practice would only make the central Queensland floods crisis worse.
"Not only will they contribute to flooding but it will affect water supply that may have already been compromised by the floods," Dr Jeremijenko said on Monday.
"The government is treating the creeks and rivers of Queensland as company drains."
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the releases were a continuation of similar practices which occurred under previous governments.
"This pilot is being closely monitored and regulated, with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection keeping a close watch on discharges from other coal mines and monitoring the cumulative impact on the river," he said in a statement.
"A mine's ability to release water has always been dependent on water flows and whether they are able to meet strict environmental and water quality standards."
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