Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham uploaded dramatic footage of the river ablaze to his website and social media accounts to highlight his party’s concerns about fracking and the extraction of coal seam gas.
The video shows the New South Wales Greens MP ignite the fire on the Condamine river and then jump up in shock, exclaiming: “Holy f***! Unbelievable – a river on fire!”
Buckingham claims the river, which is part of the Murray-Darling Basin, was made flammable due to leaking methane caused by coal seam gas mining a kilometer away.
“So much gas is bubbling through the river that it held a huge flame for over an hour,” Buckingham told The Brisbane Times.
Buckingham travelled to Chinchilla, in southwest Queensland, earlier this month as part of the Greens’ campaign to ban fracking in Australia.
The area has hundreds of CSG wells owned by Origin Energy, QGC and Arrow Energy.
Methane was first discovered bubbling through the Condamine River near in 2012 close to where coal seam gas wells had been drilled by Origin Energy.
Origin Energy claim, however, the gas bubbles are not caused by CSG activity, a statement which is backed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The energy company instead says the gas seeps have natural causes, such as geological faults and water springs.
Buckingham disagrees, proclaiming in the flaming river video: “The most incredible thing I’ve seen, a tragedy in the Murray-Darling Basin… this is utterly unacceptable, it’s been brought to you by Labour, Liberal and National parties who back the dirty frackers – only the Greens think this is bloody crazy.”