Nothdurft, N. Submission – Senate Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining

Nood & Narelle Nothdurft, Submission No 28

9 February 2016
Committee Secretary
Senate Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining (Bender Inquiry)
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Committee Secretary

Re; Submission in response to inquiry on Unconventional Gas Mining

My seven yr old boy……….. has been suffering fast on setting headaches for a few years now. They are so serve he bangs his head into the wall the floor anything to make them stop. He vomits then can’t keep fluids down and gets dehydrated. A couple of times he has been in hospital for them and dehydration. Metal taste in mouth. Sore limbs. He has missed so much school, his learning is now affected.

8yr old girl…… suffers metal taste ,fatigue, sore limbs, blood pooling in her nose all the time, severe fast onsetting headaches, bangs her head to make them stop. Has missed a lot of days of school”

Thank You for the opportunity to make this submission to this committee.

We are Nood and Narelle Nothdurft. We have 11 children. 6 children still live with us on our 860 acre property. We have cattle , crops and a 10 bedroom home.

We live in the very heart of a gas field. It is not a farming area any more, it is an industrial gas field. From our house we have 4 processing plants,

3km North Argyle Plant

  • km South Kenya GPF plant also the RO plant, 10km West Tallinga plant,
  • km East Orana

All major gas infrastructure. We have 7 gas wells on our property. In a 2.5km radius of our home we have 30 gas wells, most of them have a HPU on them , 37 high point vents which vent methane 24/7

/365 ( 4 of these 80 m from our home 1 at 120m from our home) and hundreds of kms of water and gas pipelines , Also unbearable noise that is generated from the gas infrastructure , unbearable dust, how much methane and VOC’s (and other dangerous chemicals) are being emitted from all the gas infrastructure, we don’t know.

We searched for 2 yrs to find our dream property on 860 acres. Quiet deadend road, great area for our business. GREAT area for bringing up our children. We love being part of a small country community. My husband was born and bred in Chinchilla. Small enough to know everyone but large enough to stay out of the road. In 2003 we purchased our property. We were never told or heard of any gas company .Then being in a severe drought in 2005 we ran out of water. Noticing the property next door getting their dam filled with water , we inquired . It was the gas company filling the dam from a well it had on the property over the road. We approached the gas company for some water. Their response was How would you like all the water you will ever need. WATER to farmers (everyone) is LIFE. 3 days later a drilling rig was at the back gate ready to drill. They wanted to put the well in the middle of a good grazing paddock ,We did not. We agreed on the edge of the block 670 m away from our house. Argyle 12 was born. That well is only 470 m from our home. ( one of the many lies to come) THERE WERE NO WATER, AIR , SOIL, HEALTH TEST DONE. They told us the water was great, we had no reason not to believe them. ALL of the production water went into our dam. 20 mg/l of it. Into a dam which QGC made bigger to hold this water . 3 months later QGC came back to us with the contract for Argyle 12 . $1000 up front payment and $250 per year compensation. That is fair compensation says our government. In hindsight we would never do it again .

QGC came back to us one year later saying we will be putting 6 more wells on your place. Because we had one, we weren’t sure we wanted any more. Their response was we will have them or we will take you to land court, take your land off you and put wells down anyway. And this is the amount of compensation we will give you, because this is the amount of compensation the government said was FAIR compensation. No negotiations entered into . ($265 per well per year plus $531 per ha used for roads n pipes) . We involved a local solicitor for those negotiations. We believe that QGC and our solicitor made us sign that contract under duress. No one should have been made sign a contract like it and be bullied into it by our solicitor and QGC. The advice we were given, was slanted in the direction of QGC, the contract we have is unfair and unjust. ie $265 per well per year, it removes any rights for us to renegotiate any further compensation, and the process lacked information regarding the truth of what we would have to live with ie, noise , work over rigs, dust, low point drains, high points vent leaking methane 24/ 7, the amount of people coming and going on our property, actual content of the water, and its potential contaminates. We were also BULLIED into this contract because without a signature on the contract the solicitors don’t get paid. Making of a wrought system. So many contracts are signed that way

The gas companies say , look we have so many contracts with happy farmers. YES they have contracts signed , happily not so sure ,the contracts all have confidentiality agreements . No one can speak up about them. The use of land court to farmers is bad, who wants their land taken from them.

It is hard to write and convey 10yrs of fighting, standing up for ourselves against a CSG giant as well as the lack of government support into a few pages . The emotional, the mental health , the health of our family and the money expenditure of fighting this gas industry is criminal on both the gas company and the governments behalves. We bought a beautiful property we didn’t buy a gas field, this industry was thrust upon us.

Co –existence means a very large amount of COMPENSATION

Co-existence is paying you enough money , not because it is a good relationship between you and a gas company , but the amount of money they pay you to put up with their operation and keep quiet. Or they make your property a” Picture Boy Property” for the media. That is the property they show off to the town people. Showing how wonderful they can work and co-exist with the farmers. All involved are paid VERY LARGE amounts of compensation for this privilege.

When you complain to the gas company they don’t have to fix anything. All complaints are in house, ……Complain to them = nobody else knows = no problems here. They only have to do something about the problems if you put in an OFFICIAL complaint to EHP. And only if EHP find it a VALID complaint does anything get done. On numerous occasions we have been called vexatious and malicious by QGC for complaining.

The noise we put up with is horrendous. Initially, there was noise from the drilling rigs, 3 weeks on each well, of which there are 30 wells within 2.5 km from our home ( a sensitive receptor). Then there is the work over rigs that we were never told about, they service each well at least once a year, again there are the 30 wells around our home. That means there is a drilling rig operating close by at any time. We were never consulted about the noise on our place or neighbours or the other infrastructure that effects us every day, and then there was the obscene amount of noise from the installation of the main pipeline going to Gladstone that is 80m from our front door. Most wells have a HPU (hydraulic power unit) which consists of an engine either v6 or v8 running on untreated production gas ,( have been measured at 216 parts of VOC’s.) this engine runs the well head . the well head is a pump, it pumps water up from the ground, in that water is the gas. The water and gas are then separated by pipes and a separator before it goes into the gathering pipe system, to the processing plants. There are 30 wells around our home with in 2.5 km, All of which we can hear. The noise sounds like 30 v8 trucks with their engines revving outside our home all the time. We don’t sleep from the noise. The noise actually sends vibrations through the house and through our bodies. Low frequency noise vibrations were also reported in the Qld health 2013 Tara gas report. This is also documented from our independent noise expert. We have had our noise expert do 2 lots of 2 week noise monitoring at our house at our own expense ,To prove the noise that comes from their operations. An industry that has been thrust upon us. The separators at the well site have a high pitch whistle when gas goes through them.This whistle can be heard for kms. I cannot stand the noise, it is ear piercing. So instead of hanging clothes on the line they go into the dryer. More expense for us again for an industry that was forced upon us.

We have been complaining to QGC for over 8 yrs about the noise & the dust. When I would complain to workers over the uhf radio about the amount of dust they would say “ the bitch on the hill needs water again’. I should never have had to complain or tolerate that . They would water the roads with production waste water; little did we know what was in that water. When the road would dry out and the dust would go onto the roof of our house and into our rain tank. Then we drink that water. Wonder why we are sick.

When complaining about the noise and dust from the pipeline to Gladstone, QGC offered grandiose things, and when we asked for a solicitor to be involved , they pulled out of the negotiations. When we complained about the significant issues such as the major pipeline going 80m from our front door, the noise and its location, or any other complaints QGC would set up a meeting at our house and bring multiple people to these meetings. They would introduce the additional people , but not indicate their positions in the company. Then later we would find out that the additional people were in fact company lawyers. The number of people they would bring was intimidating. The person running these meetings as a mediator, from the Govt Dept would tell us not to take notes, it’s ok cause he was taking notes. Then we would never receive a copy.

With regards to the overwhelming noise levels, gas companies have set their environmental authority that they are not to exceed, and the coordinator general says that they are to abide by this EA, undertake actions to reduce the noise that exceeds the level or reach an alternative arrangement with the individuals effected. In response to our overwhelming noise problem QGC have provided us an Alternative Arrangement Agreement that states ‘by agreeing to a compensation amount now, (when the project is not complete, has not reached its peak, and they are unable to advise us of the actual noise at its peak that we will have to live with) we agree that the compensation is full satisfaction of all present and future claims”

That AAA has been in negotiations since August 2014,

From our experience with EHP , they are reluctant to find anything wrong. We dealt with an…….from EHP when we were trying to get the 26” steel gas pipe line going to Gladstone, 80m from our front door moved. I find it hard to believe that any infrastructure of that magnitude could be that close to any HOUSE (sensitive receptor). His helpfulness was to ring us up at 9pm one night and tell my husband to STOP fighting the gas and let them get on with their job. Just one example of the government department not doing their job for us and sucking up to the gas company. WE did have some help from EHP , after the numerous noise complaints. but that person was conveniently moved on for helping us. The EHP also did their own noise monitoring in our house. We had to do an RTI to get our results which took many months to and fro and only receive a portion of the report. Gods knows why. QGC even admitted to noise breaches in that time period.

Every day, we spend numerous hours interacting in some way from emails , phone calls , talking to and checking on QGC individuals or contractors on site etc. This is a huge cost to our business (on farm and off farm) and basic day to day parenting. I have missed out on a lot of what the children do at school because of gas meeting etc. Basic activities as washing , cooking, cleaning, homework, playing with the kids supervising children etc. come to a halt,,, ALL in the name of GAS. The emotional toll it takes on my family and the stress it builds is a huge cost on my family. Because we have the children working and playing everywhere on our farm and so many QGC workers also on our property, I wanted to know my children were safe at all times. We asked QGC to provide us with blue cards for their employees that would be on our property. Their response was “too many workers it would be impossible to implement. Every person that I know that works around children need a blue card. It seems that safety to the landholders is not a priority for QGC. On all infrastructure the signs state the gas is flammable, explosive and dangerous. So WHY when the vents 80m from our home are allowed to vent this flammable explosive and dangerous gas into the air for my family to breath in. SAFETY again is of no importance to QGC. Argyle Flare was raging three kms away from our home. My daughter and I went to investigate the flare. On return to our home a siren went off . I have never heard this siren before . So again we drive to investigate the siren, another family has also gathered to find out what the noise was about. The noise of this siren was as loud as a police siren in my front yard three kms away. After ringing around , No one could tell us what was going on, not even QGC as this compressor station is unmanned they were not sure . I rang 000 asking if we need to evacuate the area( the lady couldn’t even find our address and was not worried about the situation). Three hours later we find out it was an evacuation alarm but only for the workers in the plant not the people living close to it. save the workers kill the farmers. We lodged a complaint to EHP . They investigated with QGC and responded to our complaint with a letter saying “QGC stated that they have procedures in place to alert surrounding landholders in the event of an emergency. However as this event was not an emergency no notification was required.” Well how do I know it was not an emergency , or the other landholders that turned up to find out . UNACCEPTABLE. Their own procedure could have been a simple phone call.

We have 4 high point vents 80m from our front door (these vents are in the water gathering line ) venting methane uncontrollably 24/7/365. QGC told us that it was only air not to worry. Another lie . As flir camera images show it is not just air but methane and VOCs (FLIR “out of sight ,out of mind” UTUBE) We complained to QGC and they now say the methane level from vents is 2kg of gas or 6 cows farting per day. Linc energy have just lodged a formal complaint against EHP for uncontrolled venting of potentially explosive methane into the atmosphere. This amount of methane released is less than that of the methane vented 80 metres from our house; our vents are measured at over 80% per volume methane) funny how our methane in the same area is only cows farting but because another gas company wants to put shit on EHP it is explosive methane (courier mail. July 11 pg. 32).What is methane doing to my family? No one knows; no one cares. Someone will die out of this industry before something is done, and God help them if it is one of my children. If I took a 2kg bottle of methane into parliament and opened the tap, I’m sure I would be up for attempted murder or terrorism or something. THIS IS ACTUALLY WHAT QGC HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO DO TO MY FAMILY AND OTHER FAMILIES, IT WAS ALLOWED BY OUR GOVERNMENT AND THE GAS COMPANIES GET AWAY WITH IT. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH REGULATIONS ON THIS INDUSTRY. A government is supposed to support and protect the people that vote for them.

Foreign owned gas companies own1% of Qld. Sending our gas to other countries. No benefit for us to put up with this industry. THIS INDUSTRY has ruined a beautiful country town that we loved to live in, and turned it into a gas mining town where local people, local kids find living here too expensive and they move on. No heritage will be left and the ones left in our beautiful town ;they are the ones that will have to clean up this mess the gas industry will leave. We are already seeing the negatives in our town; no jobs; businesses failing , taking others down with them. 400 homes to rent, now this will bring more negative problems to the town.

The gas companies have the right to extract any amount of water from the Artesian Basin as deemed necessary. Although FARMERS ARE REGULATED with allocations of water from the very same aquifer at a huge cost . So why do we not charge GAS companies the same price for water as our own farmers. This precious water that the gas companies now turn into their waste water; because they have contaminated the beautiful water by drilling and fracking. This waste water goes into evaporation ponds , holding ponds or reverse osmosis plants. The RO plant cannot get rid of all the contaminates proven worldwide. QGC tell us the water is too pure after going through the RO plant and production water is then added. Seems silly to me to clean the water and then add dirty water . Out of all the water that goes through the Kenya RO plant appox. 20 farmers are now responsible for ALL that water. If we don’t take our allocation of water we are charged for the use of that water. QGC have past the buck again. The beneficial use water scheme , YES it has allowed some farmers to use the water. BUT at what cost. QGC have passed the buck , of having anything to do with the quality of the water onto the farmer. The farmer waters his crops, sells that crop to feedlots so the feedlots feed their cows . Ready for export….wonderful BUT what if that water QGC have just gave up the responsibility for, is contaminated with radiation, heavy metal etc. We use that very same water pipe and water, as it runs through our property. When we sell cattle we have to sign an NVD . Saying our cattle are good. What IF … the water from the Ro plant is contaminated , we use the water on crops; cattle eat the crop; we sell the cattle ; to the public ; to the overseas market. I’m real sure the public and our overseas market would like to know if the meat they are eating is contaminated , maybe by the water maybe from the air they breathe. I know we have had calves die for no reason , calves born blind, cows die randomly. Who will be responsible for the contaminated cattle industry. Or for the cattle industry which will be no more. No more meat no more export. We have a letter from QGC saying that the water is good for stock and cropping , then last year they gave us another letter saying that the water was not fit for stock purposes, that was their own testing of their production water.

Over the years I have noticed the children getting sick , sick ,sicker. Especially the babies that were born here on this property. My own health is also failing. We all had metal tastes in our mouths , food was now tasting funning. Fatigue , that I couldn’t control. Headaches, migraines, nose bleeds, nausea. Just never felt well any more. my husband and I suffer a headache that never goes away. We were taking Panadol like pez lollies. There has to be something wrong with that. I had been to the doctors numerous times for the fatigue , they would say well you do have 11 children. But I knew it was different. I live with chronic pain , some days so bad it takes me hours to get out of bed. I have bad depression , I don’t go to town anymore I don’t visit people I don’t feel well enough . I have had 3 miscarriages since 2008, which have been devastating to me . Was it the Gas ?

My seven yr old boy……….. has been suffering fast on setting headaches for a few years now. They are so serve he bangs his head into the wall the floor anything to make them stop. He vomits then can’t keep fluids down and gets dehydrated. A couple of times he has been in hospital for them and dehydration. Metal taste in mouth. Sore limbs. He has missed so much school, his learning is now affected.

8yr old girl…… suffers metal taste ,fatigue, sore limbs, blood pooling in her nose all the time, severe fast onsetting headaches, bangs her head to make them stop. Has missed a lot of days of school

10yr old girl………., metal taste , nasal problems, migraines that go on for hours and hours, sore limbs, never feels well

12 yr old girl ……………..metal taste, fatigue, headaches never feels well, nose bleeds

  • yr old boy……………….headaches, migraines that he loses the use of the right side of his body. He has a couple of days off school after the headaches. Metal taste in mouth. Has nasal problems
  • yr old girl………….headaches ,migraines that last a couple of days. Days off school because of them. Has had sores in hair that wouldn’t go away, until I shaved her

The children will be playing happily and fall to the ground with a headache, followed by hours of screaming to make the headache stop. Children wake up in the middle of the night saying they are scared, something in their belly they can’t see it they feel it. My husband and I feel this feeling of being anxious all the time in our belly especially while sleeping. This is the vibration from the noise. The ringing in our ears is unbearable and very annoying. I don’t hang clothes on the line from the noise outside. I’d rather use the dryer it is a better noise, one I can handle. The noise has driven me crazy.

There was never any base line studies done . NO AIR , NO WATER NO SOIL. NO HEALTH. I don’t know if the gas is making our children and us sick . But I do know we were not sick before the gas moved in here. We are the ones that have to prove it. We are the ones spending lots of money finding out what is wrong with our children and ourselves. We have MRIs done , eye doctors, we went to a DR in august 2015 to help with the children. His conclusion was the environment that we live in could not be ruled out for their health problems. Because when we leave the environment they don’t seem to suffer. All of these appointments have been through a wonderful doctor . Dr Geralyn McCarron from Brisbane. Because when I choose to go to a GP of my choosing in Dalby, explained about the children’s health and we live in the gas fields …Stop…sorry we can’t see your children you must ring 13 health. All because I mentioned gas. I ring 13 health , DR McCarron also writes them a letter on my behalf telling them about the children being sick. There reply was see your local GP. But the GP won’t see us because of the gas. We have written letters to Penny Hutchinson , health minister . All say go see you GP, The Gp says go to 13 health. I met a lady from Camdon NSW last year , her children have the same symptoms as our children, only thing in common with our children is GAS WELLS.

WE live in the middle of the gas fields that emit methane; VOCs : H2s ; formaldehyde; and all the rest we don’t know about. There was a report done on health in 2013 by …Penny Hutchinson … that was 50 kms away from my home. That report means nothing to me other than it stated they found no conclusive evidence and more testing should be done . It never got done though. This infrastructure does emit methane from nearly every point proven by the FLIR camera images that were done last year. WE had the numerous ministers , Shannon Fentiman ( for womens health )

Bill Date , the Premiers sec, Policy advisor Dept of Health, Scott Little ,at our place all standing beside the high point vents leaking methane . They saw,; they heard ;they smelt; and drank from our rain water tank . But as usual the response from minister Shannon Fentiman was her department is not responsible please see DR Anthony Lynham…Pass the buck. We have also had the don from Tara & Chinchilla Hospitals, Dr Jeannette Young and Professor John Allan all sitting around my table hearing how bad my families health has progressed . Nothing came from that meeting other than a letter stating” support is available from …….. the Client Service Manager at Toowoomba Housing Service Centre, Department of housing on …. and from …….., the regional Executive Director for South West Region of the communities, Child Safety and Disability Services by email or phone.” I find this response to their meeting with my family to be very offensive. Not once does she mention GAS or the impacts it has on us , But instead she directs us to child safety and housing services. Does she think I am abusing my children and their safety, Not me my good readers I put all the Ministers and Any one in Government and any CSG company failing me and my family and any other family that have to live in a toxic industrial gas field.

Overall it is our belief and experience that the CSG Companies have Government permission to profoundly damage our peaceful existence, put things in the atmosphere for us to breath and drink

,that is untested and unknown and generally change the landscape and the lives of hundreds of people with no accountability or recourse for those affected.

Sincerely .

Nood and Narelle Nothdurft

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