The Australian Lot feeders’ Association (ALFA) is calling on the Queensland Government to reject the proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) that the lot feeding sector relies on to care for cattle and produce high quality, safe beef.
Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation (CTSCo), a subsidiary of Glencore, has a submission in front of the Queensland Government to trial injection of liquefied carbon dioxide waste from the Millmerran Power Station into the Precipice aquifer in the Western Downs region.
ALFA President, Barb Madden, emphasises the crucial role feedlots plays in ensuring food security, noting that up to half of Australia’s beef production relies on the national feedlot sector, and that the proposed trial presents an unacceptable risk to our industry.
“58% of Australian feedlots are situated in QLD, with a particular concentration of these on the Darling Downs, many of whom depend on the GAB for their cattle’s water supply,” Mrs Madden said.
“These businesses are dedicated to producing high-quality grain fed beef that contributes greatly to supporting the meat processing sector, beef exports and catering to consumers in both Australia and key export markets.”
Members of the hydrogeologist community are on the public record indicating that if the trial goes ahead the corrosive nature of the carbon dioxide fluid injected into the Precipice aquifer would cause a 10,000-fold increase in groundwater acidity, dissolve the aquifer rock and cause the leaching of heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.
“While Glencore claims that the carbon dioxide waste is food grade, the potential impact on aquifer rock formations and leaching of heavy metals from increased groundwater acidity is a direct threat to the integrity, safety and security of food production,” Mrs Madden said.
Research suggests that there is no carbon dioxide waste injected into food producing shared-use aquifers anywhere else in the world, making this trial untested in terms of the impact to current water users for food production.
With the experimental nature of the trial evident, the Queensland Government is urged to adopt the Precautionary Principle and observe the State’s own Environmental Protection Regulation by refusing the application on the basis that the waste is likely to result in a deterioration in the environmental values of the groundwater in the aquifer.
“Any water contamination has the potential to negatively impact the livelihoods of lot feeders, by threatening the welfare of cattle in their care, product integrity and market access and disrupting the supply chain. This, in turn, would have repercussions on the affordability of beef for consumers," Mrs Madden said.
“ALFA is not opposed to Carbon Storage science and the importance of addressing climate change. We are at the forefront of exploring new technology ourselves, such as methane reducing feed, to help address our changing climate. However, we steadfastly object to the injection of liquid carbon dioxide waste into any aquifer that is used for food production,” Mrs Madden stated.
ALFA is calling on the Queensland Government to reject the proposal, protect water quality for agricultural enterprises and prioritise food production and security, ensuring Australian lot feeders can continue to produce safe high-quality grain fed beef to nourish families here and globally.
ALFA President firstname.lastname@example.org
(02) 9290 3700
(02) 9290 3700