Nick Xenophon pressed on coal connections as leaders debate environment at Science Exchange
CLARE PEDDIE, SCIENCE REPORTER, The Advertiser
February 19, 2018 6:53pm
THE Greens have challenged Nick Xenophon to clarify his position on a proposed underground coal gasification project near Leigh Creek.
Greens SA leader Mark Parnell said SA Best candidate for Badcoe Kate Bickford was a lawyer for the company proposing the project – Leigh Creek Energy.
But Mr Xenophon yesterday said he did not know enough about the project or process to comment.
Mr Xenophon, Premier Jay Weatherill, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall and Mr Parnell will face off on Tuesday during a debate focused on their environmental policies. Mr Parnell:
“This (underground coal gasification) is a process so dirty and dangerous it has been banned in Queensland following the biggest pollution incident in that State’s history,”
“Why is the Government supporting it? Why won’t the Liberals oppose it? Where does Nick Xenophon stand?
“Does Nick support the SA environment or his candidate’s client?”
Mr Xenophon said he did not know enough about underground coal gasification to respond.
The Leigh Creek Energy Environmental Impact Report and Draft Statement of Environmental Objectives for the proposed demonstration plant is out for public consultation until February 28.
The “in-situ gasification” demonstration plant consist of a single gasifier chamber and above-ground infrastructure to produce synthesis gas (syngas) for a short period (two or three months), so that the syngas composition and performance of the process can be confirmed.
Conservation Council SA chief executive Craig Wilkins said energy policy was one of 10 issues on their election scorecard, to be tallied and released later this month.
“So far, we’ve heard very little this election from the parties about the environment,” he said. “The 33 groups behind this forum have a collective membership of over 120,000 South Australians. Any politician who ignores that power does so at their peril.”
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