THE STATE government has defended three Queensland bureaucrats being sued for shutting down Cougar Energy's $550 million underground coal gasification project in what's believed to be the first such legal case in the state.
The government closed the Kingaroy project in the state's southeast after the cancer-causing chemical benzene was found last year in a groundwater monitoring bore on the site.
Cougar had failed to notify authorities of the contamination for two months.
Cougar today launched a claim in the Supreme Court in Brisbane against former Department of Environment and Resource Management chief executives John Bradley and Terry Wall, and current head James Reeves, as well as the state.
The company is alleging negligence and breach of statutory duties in their administration of the state's Environmental Protection Act and is seeking compensation of $34 million.
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