Residents are sceptical over CarbonNet project

GOLDEN Beach residents were keen to take the opportunity to ask CarbonNet representatives and scientists questions at a community drop-in information day on Wednesday.

The carbon capture and storage proposal, funded by the state and federal governments, would use deep rocks in Bass Strait to store liquefied carbon dioxide generated in the Latrobe Valley.

A marine seismic survey, which will involve a scientific vessel using sound waves to map the geology of the ocean floor, is expected to begin in mid-February.

Residents were concerned at the lack of consultation to this point, with many saying they had only found out recently.

The survey will involve 17 kilometres of beach being closed to swimmers while the research ship is within a nautical mile of the shore.

It will be patrolled by surf lifesavers, paid for by CarbonNet.

Fish and wildlife would not be harmed by the project, as many would leave the area, and whale and dolphin observers would have the power to stop the survey if any were spotted.

The focus of the day was for project representatives to answer questions and correct any misconceptions about the project.

Project director Ian Filby said that more could be done to engage the community, but having community sessions like this one was positive.

He said the future of the project would depend on the results of the seismic survey, and there would be minimal disruptions to the town.

The technology was safe, and while small faults existed in the Gippsland Basin, it was seismically stable, Mr Filby saying injecting carbon would not cause earthquakes.

Other scientists added that if the project went ahead, the monitoring systems would be state-of-the-art.

Any infrastructure, such as pipelines from the Latrobe Valley, would be underground and follow existing routes, such as oil and gas pipes.

Most residents expressed scepticism at the answers they were given.

At a residents and ratepayers’ special meeting after the information session, some said they had been given conflicting information from different CarbonNet representatives.