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Gas test drilling in Molln: security guard in court

Gas test drilling in Molln: security guard in court
Gas test drilling in Molln is a point of contention.
Image: VOLKER WEIHBOLD
Controversial gas test drilling by ADX in Molln (Kirchdorf district)
There are repeated protests against the drilling near the Kalkalpen National Park.
Image: Wolfgang Spitzbart

The test drilling for natural gas in Molln (Kirchdorf district) in the vicinity of the Kalkalpen National Park, which was opposed by environmentalists, has received a criminal law component. An employee of the security company that was commissioned by the exploration company ADX Energy to guard the drilling site will have to answer in court in Steyr on April 24th for coercion and attempted suppression of evidence, according to the plaintiff citizens’ initiative Pro Natur Steyrtal.

  • Also read: Dispute between security and activists in Molln (OÖNplus)

On February 17th there was a clash between conservationists and security guards. According to the prosecution, a security guard is said to have attacked an activist from BI Pro Natur Steyrtal on a gravel road 30 meters from the fenced-in drilling construction site and warned him not to take photographs. When the defendant noticed that another opponent was filming the heated scenario with his cell phone, he grabbed his left hand and apparently twisted his thumb back until he let go of the cell phone. He then ran onto the company premises with his cell phone and apparently wanted to delete the recordings, a spokeswoman for the Steyr regional court says in the criminal complaint.

  • More on the topic: Drilling is underway in Molln: “A real tourism has developed” (OÖNplus)

After the approval for the exploration drilling ends on March 31, opponents of drilling discussed what they saw as violations of the notice requirements at a press conference on Thursday. In three cases, reports were filed with the nature conservation authority. The approved drilling site size was exceeded and the vehicles and equipment were not cleaned appropriately before each new entry into the valley area. This requirement is necessary to prevent the “introduction of alien plants” and “to protect the species corridor to the Kalkalpen National Park,” emphasized Barbara Sitter from BI Pro Natur Steyrtal.

Controversial gas test drilling by ADX in Molln (Kirchdorf district)
There are repeated protests against the drilling near the Kalkalpen National Park.
Image: Wolfgang Spitzbart

Furthermore, a truck is said to have lost drilling mud during transport, which was then not disposed of as dangerous goods as required. According to information from Upper Austria’s environmental lawyer Martin Donat, the facts were passed on to the responsible district administrative authority, which “has initiated three criminal proceedings.”

ADX Vie GmbH – a subsidiary of the Australian-listed exploration company ADX Energy – announced this week that the drilling work was progressing faster than expected and was around four days ahead of schedule. A spokesperson commented on the new allegations as “another attempt to publicly discredit the company and the project.” He further explained that the allegations regarding vehicle cleaning and leakage of drilling mud do not concern ADX but rather service providers commissioned by the company. However, he generally denied any “intentional violation of the requirements”.

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