NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has released a video online of the Condamine River, off the Murray-Darling Basin in Queensland, ablaze with fire.
The video shows Mr Buckingham setting the river alight by holding a flame to the water.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It was enormously concerning,” he told SBS.
Mr Buckingham believes the river was made flammable due to leaking methane caused by nearby coal seam gas mining.
The video shows Mr Buckingham in a small boat with one other person, as he brings a lighter to the surface of the water, before he is thrown aback by the resulting flame.
“Holy f—. Unbelievable. A river on fire,” he exclaims in the video. “The most incredible thing I’ve seen. A tragedy in the Murray-Darling Basin.”
Mr Buckingham told SBS, in spite of the lack of hard scientific evidence supporting claims the gas bubbles are caused by fracking, he believes it is safe to assume the correlation between the two.
“I’m convinced that the volume of gas has been brought about by the coal seam gas operations that are very close,” he said.
“The CSIRO has said that gas migrating from the ground is increasing. And the locals have recorded an increase in the gas after the fracking and coal seam gas operation began [in 2012].”
“So there may not be causation, but there clearly a correlation,” he said.
“I’m convinced that the volume of gas has been brought about by the coal seam gas operations that are very close.”
He also said he found the gas looked “not necessarily clean” and that he is concerned about the impact it could have on drinking water catchments connected to the Murray-Darling Basin.
“[The gas] comes out with pollutants and what’s called volatile organic compounds which is injurious to human health,” he said.
“This is what we always said would occur. That once you depressurise the coal seam, the gas would begin to flow, but it would not necessarily always go up the [coal mine] wells, that it would find other path ways to the surface.”