GP says Limestone Coast Health Assessment Study needed

symptomatology of gasfield

Limestone Coast Health Assessment Study Needed

Limestone Coast General Practitioner Dr David Senior is calling for a comprehensive, ongoing and detailed Health Assessment Study in the Limestone Coast before any gas extraction is allowed.

Dr David Senior, a General Practitioner from Robe, has written in a submission to the fracking hearing “Before any gas extraction were to be allowed to occur, a comprehensive, ongoing and detailed study of the entire region should be undertaken, to include the health of humans, animals and plants, with samples kept for future comparative analysis. Water, soil and air samples should be collected from a large number of sites across the region in addition to tissue samples from humans, animals and plants, as a baseline against which future similar samples could be measured.”

Dr Senior is recommending that this study would need input from organisations such as environmental toxicologists, environmental health scientists and public health professionals.

“I am calling on the Federal Government to commit funding for this baseline health study in our region. Baseline air and water testing must occur before any further gas developments”, Dr Senior says. “We need government to apply the precautionary principle and stop further gas development until it can be proven safe for human and animal health.”


Public rejection of Coal Seam Gas Mining nationally

Lock the Gate Media release 3 June 2016
Polling of 250,000 people confirms public rejection of CSG mining nationally.

Lock the Gate say this should trigger election commitments.

New polling confirms the public has rejected risky unconventional gas drilling and highlights the failure of both major political parties to act on community concerns on the issue in the lead-up to the Federal election.
The ABC has released polling data showing 67% of Australians are opposed to any easing of restrictions on coal seam gas exploration, and that this number had grown since the last Federal election in 2013.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator, Phil Laird said, “Clearly, there is widespread rejection of the unconventional gas industry by people across Australia given the profound risks that it poses to water resources and human health.
“This polling of more than 250,000 repondants confirms that opposition to CSG and unconventional gas is a massive issue in the lead-up to the Federal election and that controls on this risky industry need to be tightened not loosened, to address community concerns
“We’re calling on both major political parties to respond by:
• Fully protecting important water sources like Sydney’s drinking water catchment and the Great Artesian Basin in no-go zones.
• Acting urgently to protect human health by creating a national Environment Protection Authority and commissioning national research on health impacts of gas drilling.”
“The CSG industry has been a nightmare for families forced to live with it in Qld. The impacts on health, water and farming communities, as well as regional economies, has been severe.
“People across Australia have learnt the hard lessons from Qld and are saying very clearly that they think Governments must take stronger action against this industry. The time for action is now.
“This new polling also confirms previous regional polling which has shown 70-80% opposition to unconventional gas drilling in various communities across Australia and 96% in door to door surveys in farming districts,” he said.


Doctors for Environment call for a National Approach

Doctors for the Environment Australia has presented their submission to the Senate Select Committee on Unconventional Gas and is calling for a moratorium on all new unconventional gas operations until health risk assessments of procedures and chemicals performed on an industry wide basis have been undertaken.  DEA Submission available here.

“DEA is of the view that a national approach is essential to reduce the extensive risks associated with unconventional gas mining. The most (self-) evident reason for this is that sets of unconventional gas operations may take place in regions overlying, and therefore threatening, precious aquifers, aquifers that do not recognise state borders. DEA asks the Committee to be aware that medical and health research literature on unconventional gas is rapidly expanding. Much published research comes from the United States where an estimated 15 million people live within 1.6km of gas or oil wells.”

For more information go to DEA website here




Submission to Senate Inquiry from Queensland ….Pigs are dying!

The Sydney Morning Herald Report by Tim Barlass on 9th April

1000 pigs dead due to gas mining pollution, says submission to Senate, April 10, 2016

The death of up to 1000 pigs has been blamed on pollution associated with controversial gas mining, in a submission to a Senate inquiry into regulation of the coal seam gas industry.

The claims, backed by graphic photographs, were made as part of a 90-page submission by the family of George Bender, who committed suicide in October 2015, after years of battling gas mining on and adjacent to his property.

Deaths occurred at the property Valencia in Chinchilla, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane, at the piggery established in the 1940s and run by Mr Bender for decades. He won numerous awards for his prize pigs at local and state competitions.

Problems are said to have started as several mining companies moved into the area including:

  • Pigs gasping for air and dying without physical cause.
  • Pigs aborting near full term or sows unable to deliver a live litter.
  • Young pigs becoming sick with swollen eyes, rashes and lung issues.

Mr Bender’s daughter, Helen, who prepared the submission, said pigs were very sensitive to their environment and had many anatomical similarities to humans.

“We have a pig down there that is so dizzy it looks like he’s drunk. It looks similar to a little cat in a YouTube video in South Dakota where they started fracking which can’t walk straight or hold its head up. The only change to our environment is unconventional gas mining.

 “My brother was on the tractor and he stopped it because he thought the tractor was burning. He got outside the tractor and it was actually the Linc Energy smell.”

She said people needed to understand that while the gas industry may not be at their front doors, it would still affect them.

“Food comes from the farm … the risks to food production is high. It is not a matter about if it [contamination] will happen, it is question of when will it happen!”

The submission states: “Unseen stock losses commenced during 2010 and as the gas fields expanded … there was a direct correlation to the negative impacts to the health of the pigs.

“The negative health of the pigs had never been witnessed before in the 75 years of operation and certainly never in the life of George Bender …”

George and Pam Bender were told in early 2011 that the odour was coming from the Linc Energy underground coal gasification plant six kilometres from their farm, according to a member of the Hopeland community, who lived closer to the plant, the submission says. The smell has now been called the “Linc stink” by the community.

An autopsy conducted on a pig in December 2013 found “major abnormalities with the lung and heart”. The autopsy was not included in the submission “due to the sensitivity of the report”.

It states: “On the night of 11 December 2015 there was significant flaring/venting occurring in the gasfields. The following morning three sick pigs were found with all animals dying within 3 days of the flaring.”

The submission says Linc Energy offered $7500 to install air conditioning in the Benders’ home if they signed a confidentiality clause, but they would not agree to the terms.

A spokesman for Linc Energy said while the inquiry is under way, it would be inappropriate to respond to questions. He said there were a number of CSG operators in the Hopeland region whose production facilities were significantly larger than their 1.4 square kilometre underground coal gasification demonstration facility.

“However we acknowledge that the Senate committee’s purpose is to inquire on the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining including coal seam gas (CSG) and shale gas mining.”

Local GP Geralyn McCarron said an investigation into the matter identified a cocktail of chemicals including benzene, toluene, naphthalene, xylene and phenol.

“This is the asbestos of our time,” Dr McCarron said.

“The farmers have to sign a legally binding vendor declaration confirming their produce is not contaminated, but they have absolutely no control over what the miners have put into the water they use. The position farmers have found themselves in is unconscionable, where despite their ongoing best efforts to protect their stock from contamination, all they can really do is hope.”

Ms Bender is now helping to run three properties the family owns, with four brothers, while supporting their widowed mother.

In April 2016, she spoke at the Beyond Coal & Gas conference at Myuna Bay to help others deal with the anguish of protecting their land from mining.

In its submission to the inquiry, the Australian Dairy Council said that it had “concerns about a number of issues” relating to the coexistence of dairy farming and the gas industry.

The Australian Wine Industry submission said it didn’t believe the gas industry could operate near wine-growing regions and that it threatened the reputation of internationally recognised brands.

The committee is to inquire into the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining and is due to provide a final report by June 30.

Health and Fracking Report


The United Kingdom (UK) is presently set to expand ‘hydraulic fracturing’ of shale formations (‘fracking’) as a means of extracting unconventional gas. Proponents of fracking have argued that it can be conducted safely and will bring benefits in the form of: a) energy that is cleaner in climate terms than coal and oil; b) greater energy security; c) lower energy prices; d) more energy diversity and competition; and e) local employment and economic development. However, fracking has proven to be controversial and there are serious concerns about its safety and impact on the environment.

This report reviews fracking and its associated activities through a comprehensive public health lens. It examines the direct and immediate effects of fracking on health; the adequacy and capacity of the regulatory system; and the relationship between fracking and climate change.

It builds on a number of existing reviews of the evidence and interviews with various academics and experts (in the UK and abroad). Medact also requested short papers in particular subject areas to inform the production of this report. Given that much of the literature about fracking has been derived from experience in the United States (US), this report also highlights the specific features of the UK that need to be considered.

Read the full report here


New Book; The Human and Environmental Costs of Fracking

New Book; The Human and Environmental Costs of Fracking (Praeger Press, 2015) is available. 

Madelon Finkel says; “This is an important book discussing many different aspects of an important topic. Each of the authors is an expert in his/her field, and the material is all evidenced-based (no personal opinions permitted).

Natural gas and oil prices have plunged, but that does not mean that fracking has disappeared or isn’t an issue anymore. Quite the contrary. Much more needs to be done to understand the components of the fracking fluid, for example. Much more work must be done to figure out how to dispose of the fracking byproducts. Much more needs to be done to scientifically document the potential for harm both to human and animal health and the environment. But most importantly, the public needs to get an unbiased, evidenced-based discussion of the pros and the cons of this technology. This is not an anti-fracking book; this is a book that lays out the facts and lets the reader make up his or her mind about the potential benefits and limitations of hydraulic fracturing.”



Senate Select Committee on the State of Queensland

Report March 2015

Read here

what this Australian Senate Committee has found in its investigation into Coal Seam Gas in Queensland plus other matters. Recommendations include

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that the Queensland government ensure all mining and other major development activities are consistent with Australia’s environment and social obligations under international environmental instruments that Australia is a signatory to.

Recommendation 12

The committee recommends that the federal Minister for the Environment does not delegate his powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Recommendation 13

The committee recommends that the Federal Minister for the Environment declare a moratorium on any new approvals of Coal Seam Gas until an investigation is completed and reports back to the Senate. The report should address the effects of Coal Seam Gas mining activities in the Tara and Chinchilla areas on the health of local people, animals and crops, groundwater and on the quality of soil, water and air, and also investigate the disposal of effluent containing human faeces around mining camps, local roads and agricultural land used for growing crops for human consumption and the degradation of water reserves in these areas.

Recommendation 15

The committee recommends that the Queensland Government complete a review of the Gasfields Commission Queensland including roles, responsibilities, conflicts of interest and independence.

Recommendation 16

The committee recommends the Queensland government review all legislation implemented by the Newman Government to determine its appropriateness and compatibility with social justice/natural justice requirements and other land ownership rights. Further the committee recommends the review of mechanisms/instruments established by the Newman Government which impose unjust and unfair limitations or requirements on land owners, particularly in relation to land use/access issues.

Recommendation 17

The committee recommends that a royal commission be established to investigate the human impact of Coal Seam Gas mining.

Recommendation 18

The committee recommends that a moratorium be called and that no further Coal Seam Gas mining approvals be given until a full investigation by the Federal Minister for the Environment has been completed and reported back to the Senate on; the human health impacts, animal deaths, crop contamination, drinking water and air quality, plus degradation of the water supply in and around the Tara and Chinchilla area.

Recommendation 19

The committee recommends that a Resources Ombudsman be established to provide Australians with an independent advocacy body.

Recommendation 20

The committee recommends that fracking be banned in Queensland.


Please note that the Liberal and Labour Senators have rejected some of these recommendations (including 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20).

Questions to be asked include;

On what grounds have the Liberal and Labour senators rejected these recommendations?

Especially the ones calling for more scientific investigation and a halt to NEW projects to allow further investigation into health impacts.

Read the submissions presented to the inquiry such as the one from Doctors for the Environment Australia.

Ask yourselves who are these Senators supporting the people or the companies?


CANADA; Jessica Ernst can sue Alberta Government over fracking


Judge has ruled that Jessica Ernst, Biologist can sue Albert Govt , Canada over fracking.

“There is a reasonable prospect that Ernst’s claim that she is owed a private duty of care will succeed,” he wrote. “There is also a reasonable prospect that Ernst will succeed in defeating Alberta’s statutory immunity claims.” Wittmann ordered the province to pay Ernst’s legal costs at triple the regular rate, because the province could have made its main arguments years ago instead of filing a separate application.

Ernst called the ruling a big victory for all Albertans. She said it shows that landowners can stand up and hold governments to account.


Human Cost of Power – new film screening 22nd August

Join Limestone Coast Protection Alliance and Community Action for Sustainability on Friday evening 22nd August at 7pm for a screening of short film “Human Cost of Power”.

Dress Circle, Main Corner at 1 Bay Rd, Mount Gambier.

7pm for a 7.30 start

Entry by donation to cover costs.

Including presentation by Aaron Izzard Environmental Sustainability Officer with City of Mount Gambier to discuss solar panels on the Mount Gambier Public Library and solar lighting projects in Mount Gambier.

All Welcome


The Human Cost of Power

The Climate and Health Alliance, together with the Public Health Association of Australia, has released a new short film: The Human Cost of Power.

Produced by Fiona Armstrong and directed by award winning science journalist Alexandra de Blas, this film explores the health impacts associated with the massive expansion of coal and unconventional gas in Australia.

The film features respected health and medical experts: Associate Professor Linda Selvey, Associate Professor Ruth Colaguiri, Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith, and Dr George Crisp. It draws on new reports and evidence which offer fresh insights into the risks posed to human health by the production of these energy resources.

The Human Cost of Power has received a lot of attention internationally, featuring in a session at the Global Climate and Health Summit held in parallel with the United Nations global climate talks in Warsaw in November, as well as at the international Health Impact Assessment conference.

You can view a trailer of the film, as well as the short (5 mins) version and full length version (16 minutes) on the Climate and Health Alliance YouTube channel.


The mining and production of Australian coal and coal seam gas is expanding at an unprecedented rate and scale and with it the risk to human health.

There are serious threats to health associated with the mining, transportation and combustion of coal and potentially serious threats to health associated with exploration and production of coal seam gas.

In addition, exploitation of these resources in Australia has the potential to drive global warming beyond the two degrees guardrail scientists warn is the upper limit if we are to avoid precipitating catastrophic and non-linear changes to the global climate system.

This project

There is an urgent need for a resource to communicate the best available international science in an accurate and engaging way. This short film features Australian public and environmental health experts and draws on new reports and evidence which offer fresh insights into the risks posed to human health from coal and gas.

This is part of a broader strategy to engage policymakers, the health sector and the community on the risks to health from climate change and fossil fuels. The film will be used to elevate the seriousness of the health impacts associated with coal and coal seam gas in the minds of decision makers, health professionals, educators, and the wider community in Australia. It is available online, and is being provided to university faculties of public health, used at forums in communities affected by coal and coal seam gas projects, and distributed via social media. This will be an important contribution to raising public awareness of the topic in Australia and internationally.


Government Emissions from Gas Mining

This website has data from the 2011/2012 financial year regarding the emissions produced and reported by gas mining around the country.

Takes you to a web page where you can search by Industry.

Select Mining then Oil & Gas Extraction.

Click on View Data. Then click on the Emissions Tab


You will then see the full list of chemicals. A scary long list of chemicals.

View the Full List of Chemicals Here



Kalangadoo meeting update

“We had a super successful meeting at Kalangadoo tonight. Several interesting guest speakers and then at the request of the public – the four politicians present got to say their piece. The four were Don Pegler, Karen Prelc, John Baseley (although Penny spoke on behalf of the greens) and Mitch Williams. Three of those four were very nice, respectful and courteous to the other speakers. One FELL ASLEEP twice during the visiting doctor’s speech, then stood up and said that all of the facts presented and all of the speakers told lovely stories, pity they weren’t true. I feel I showed a great deal of ladylikeness which is very UNLIKE myself, to not tell him off for being so freaking rude. Especially after pulling apart my bit – which was on how the employment side of things works in the petrochemical industry and the lack of local jobs created by such projects. Because he has soooo much experience in that himself. Mitch Williams – I’m looking at you. With my cranky mother face.”

Comment from Lia Healy on facebook

The Kalangadoo Action Committee

Kalangadoo Action Group


[fancy_title style=”1″ align=”left” heading_style=”h1″ title_color=”#999″ title_lines_color=”#eee”]Event Details[/fancy_title]

Dr Merryn Redenbach from Doctors for the Environment Australia will be visiting tomorrow 11th March 2014 at 7pm in the Kalangadoo Community Football Clubrooms , War Memorial Park .


7pm Film screening of Fractured Country ; an Unconventional Invasion

Presentation on latest scientific evidence on health risks associated with unconventional gas.

For more details contact Sue Westgarth 0408 820 797


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