Lawmaker Sets River on Fire, Blames Fracking
Jeremy Buckingham makes his case in Australia
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2016 6:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Could fracking be behind methane gas that's bubbling up in an Australian river? A lawmaker there gave his answer by going out on a boat and setting fire to the water, ABC News Australia reports. "Unbelievable!" says Jeremy Buckingham in a video (WARNING: LANGUAGE) as flames leap up from the Condamine River. "A river on fire. The most incredible thing I've seen." Posted by Buckingham on Facebook, the video has generated 3,600 comments and nearly 95,000 shares as of this writing. "There has been concern that fracking and extraction of coal seam gas could cause gas to migrate through the rock," writes Buckingham in the post. "Not only is it polluting the river and air, but methane is an extremely potent heat trapping gas."

But one company running coal seam gas wells in the area calls the methane "naturally occurring" and government scientists who investigated the seeps seem to agree, the Guardian reports. "The presence of the industry there has not caused that crack to occur or that fault to occur, it’s been there for aeons," says an Australian official who points to rock fissures and shifting sediment as likely causes. But the methane seeps were first reported in 2012, Buckingham notes, just a year after more fracking was developed in the area. "It would be the most remarkable coincidence that the very thing that we warned would happen has happened in the middle of a gas field and it’s totally unrelated," he says.