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NT pastoralists show down with mining companies; Landline

Boiling Point on Landline on 16th March 2015

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: Northern Territory pastoralists are the most unprotected in the country when it comes to their rights in facing up to mining and exploration companies. For years, they’ve been pushing for better protection and a bolstering of legislation. But nothing has happened and tensions are reaching boiling point.

Kristy O’Brien filed this report from Central Australia.  Read more and watch on http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2015/s4202290.htm

Beach Energy plans to use Waste Water for Irrigation of pasture

The holding pond left at Jolly1 Penola in May 2014 containing heavy metals, hydrocarbons and salt.

The holding pond left at Jolly1 Penola in May 2014 containing heavy metals, hydrocarbons and salt.

Limestone Coast Protection Alliance are alarmed that Beach Energy are planning to use the drilling waste water from Bungaloo1 and Jolly1 wells to irrigate pasture.  Analysis of this water shows it is half to two thirds the salinity of salt water, with high levels of sodium, potassium, heavy metals such as barium and copper, plus traces of hydrocarbons and phenol.   Some of these hydrocarbons are polyaromatic hydrocarbons, a group of chemicals which are persistant with some causing cancer and deformities in developing babies.

LCPA are seeking more information from the EPA and the Dept of Water.

We have asked SELGA and the NRM Board if they will discuss at their next meetings in October.

Dubious claims don’t fool LCPA

MINING companies like to tar everyone objecting to proposed unconventional gas developments in the Lower and Mid South East as “greenies and professional activists”, according to chairman of the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance Will Legoe.

But the sheep and cattle producer and grapegrower says the membership of his organisation – which held its first meeting in November with 11 members – tells a different story.

“We now have 270 members, with 50 per cent of them farmers,” he said.

“And it’s growing every day, mainly through word-of-mouth, although we did attend the (SE) field days.”

Legoe says when people ring him, all he can do is point them to the relevant websites and documentaries.

“People in the region are mostly very conservative – but not on this issue,” he said.

“And they come from all walks of life – a big cross-section.

“They become more educated about the issues and build their knowledge, and this has added to the groundswell of support (for LCPA).”

Legoe had attended Beach Energy information sessions and others organised independently to discuss the possible impacts of unconventional gas mining.

He became concerned and decided to become active in the debate after assessing the ‘evidence’ presented and possible ramifications of developments.

“I have to shake my head when Beach Energy says we are ignoring the science – there is plenty of science saying the opposite (to the company),” Legoe said.

“The possibility of water contamination is a primary cause of concern, but there would be huge lifestyle and social pressures.”

If the March state election had been 12 to 18 months later, Legoe believes the notice of motions carried by SELGA calling for a moratorium on unconventional gas mining would have had more sway on politicians.

“I certainly hope we can still have some influence (on SE politicians) as our numbers grow,” he said.

* Full report in Stock Journal, July 3, 2014 issue.

Protecting our Foodbowl, water and tourism from mining – Rally 2nd August 2014

Meet 9:45am at Parliament House and then 10am march to Victoria Square.

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South Australia has only 4.6% agricultural land outside of pastoral areas. Our farming production areas are being invaded by shale gas exploration in the South East of SA, mineral exploration and proposed mining for iron ore, copper and other minerals on Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula. Plus oil and gas exploration licences are off shore near Kangaroo Island, only around 10 km off our SA coastline.

These exploration and proposed projects are a major threat to our groundwater aquifers, surface water, soil and air. We want to maintain our clean, green food bowl, water and tourism which should be held in trust for generations to come. Currently, land owners in South Australia have virtually NO rights to say NO to mining and petroleum exploration on their properties, even if they don’t want it. This is unfair! We want the laws changed to protect our food bowl.

On Saturday, 2nd August, a rally and march will be held in Adelaide to help support and protect our agricultural, viticultural and ocean communities. We strongly urge everyone in rural areas as well as city areas to come and join us.

9.45 a.m. we will be meeting on the steps of Parliament House. Some short speeches will commence at 10 a.m. followed by a march to Victoria Square. Some short speeches will take place also at Victoria Square.   People are encouraged to stay for a picnic lunch or purchase food from nearby.

Please Note: Adelaide City Council CAN NOT park farm vehicles over 8 tonnes.  Please bring placards instead.

There are buses organised to take people from the South East up to Adelaide for the day.
 
 

Find out more about the Rally by clicking here to go to facebook

Contact Anne Daw for more information annedaw@bigpond.com

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Three myths the coal seam gas industry wants you to believe

Click here to read the article – from The Conversation an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.

Myth 1: The gas industry is a big employer

Myth 2: More CSG will stop the gas price rises

Myth 3: CSG can act as a low-emission “bridge” from coal to renewables

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Santos poisoned the groundwater in the Pilliga and then they lied about it

There was shocking news in the Sydney Morning Herald for the farmers of north-west NSW on Saturday – groundwater in the Pilliga had been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities by Santos.

After hearing the news on Saturday, farmers Mark and Cherie Robinson jumped into action, and today they will be at NSW Parliament in Sydney, demanding a halt to CSG drilling in NSW in the wake of the shocking confirmation of water impacts.

Mark and Cherie have a farm west of the Pilliga and they are completely dependent on groundwater.  They can’t survive without it. They’ve already shown incredible courage – both have been arrested stopping Santos drill rigs in the Pilliga over the last month – an extraordinary action for two hard-working, law-abiding farmers.

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Will you stand with Mark and Cherie, and add your voice to their call to defend our water from dangerous CSG mining?  Please get on the phone to Premier Barry O’Farrell and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner – they need to hear from you directly that the people of NSW will not accept this risky, polluting industry threatening our state.

Santos have been hiding behind a wall of spin and deceit – they have been running advertisements saying they pose no threat to water resources, as recently as last week, while knowing full well for at least a year that they have poisoned the Pilliga aquifer.

Please take action now – if you can’t get on the phone, then please email the NSW Government decision-makers and tell them to shut-down Santos in the Pilliga and elsewhere in NSW.  We’ve made a simple one click tool, it will only take you one minute.

Farmers of north-west NSW have this morning told Santos to pack up their equipment and leave the region – and to never come back.

Their resolve has never been stronger.  Can you pitch in and provide them some support, by donating to our Narrabri Fighting Fund?  The funds will help protect the vital water resources of north-west NSW from any further CSG activity.

There is an incredible momentum building to shut down CSG in NSW in the wake of the shocking Pilliga water scandal.

Let’s make it happen, because there’s nothing more important than sweet clean water,

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Drew, Phil and all the Lock the Gate team

Landline – MUST WATCH video

Watch the Landline Segment here

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PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: One issue that seems to polarise farming communities more than most others is coal seam gas. An economic saviour to some, others fear the long-term damage the industry could do to underground water supplies. The latest front in this ongoing battle is South Australia, with a proposal to drill exploration wells near prime agricultural land in the state’s south-east. More from Leah MacLennan.

LEAH MACLENNAN, REPORTER: Over the past five years, anti-coal seam gas demonstrations have mostly been restricted to Queensland and NSW.

But the protests are now spilling over the border into SA. These farmers and environmentalists are trying to stop gas exploration in the state’s south-east.

Beach Energy is putting down test drills near Penola. If it finds gas, the company may have to extract it using hydraulic fracturing – fracking – a technique that uses a pressurised mixture of sand, water and chemicals to tap into underground gas reserves.

REG NELSON, BEACH ENERGY: Well first of all fracking is a term we don’t use because it encompasses so many different things. It’s a process that’s been around since the 1890s, but, as I say, it covers so many things and it’s evolved in so many different ways. What we’re looking to do, possibly, is to apply very precise fracture stimulation to the deep rocks at probably four kilometres depth.

LEAH MACLENNAN: If this so-called unconventional gas extraction goes ahead, it will be the first time the technique has been used in an agricultural area in SA, and that’s angered some of the locals.

Over the last six years, Anne Daw has gone from south-east landowner to anti-mining lobbyist.

ANNE DAW, ANTI-MINING CAMPAIGNER: We only have 4.6 per cent agricultural prime land and cropping land left in the whole state outside of pastoral areas and that is not much to ask to be preserved and exempt from mining petroleum and unconventional gas.

LEAH MACLENNAN: The protest movement has drawn the attention of non-Government MPs in the South Australian Parliament, who are pushing for new laws to restrict fracking and mining in agricultural areas.

ROBERT BROKENSHIRE, SA FAMILY FIRST MP: And we need to address it before we lose our best agricultural land. Some say the Mining Act is balanced; I say that the Mining Act is in favour of mining and makes it difficult for farmers. I’m arguing that in the state’s interests, you know, we – Family First are not anti-mining, but we say there are places where you can mine and places where you should be able to unquestionably proceed with farming.

LEAH MACLENNAN: But the State Government isn’t interested. It argues there are sufficient safeguards overseen by the Environment, Resources and Development, or ERD, Court.

TOM KOUTSANTONIS, SA MINISTER FOR MINERAL RESOURCES: Prime agricultural land is exempt from the Mining Act, but people can, if they find resources, go to the ERD Court and have that, of course, overturned. And that’s right, and that’s the right thing to do because you can have multiple land use principles that do show that mining and farming can co-exist.

LEAH MACLENNAN: That’s of little comfort to people like Jack England, a third-generation farmer near Kingston, and he’s the vice-chair of Livestock SA.

JACK ENGLAND, LIVESTOCK SA: Some farmers will probably want to sell out and they’re quite pro-mining and there are others that are against it. So we have to be careful that we represent the interests of all farmers, make sure all the drilling, if it goes ahead, is Mickey Mouse and they do the right thing in terms of biosecurity, sort of equity for farms and that sort of thing.

LEAH MACLENNAN: The biggest concern for farmers is the potential impact of deep drilling, mining and hydraulic fracturing on aquifers.

JACK ENGLAND: The best thing about the south-east down here is we can drill a hole, dig a hole and we either have a well or into the sub-Artesian Basin and we’ve got water for our livestock and/or irrigation and the wine crops as well. So that’s the most stable resource that we’ve got down here and we certainly want to protect it as much as possible.

LEAH MACLENNAN: Any threat to aquifers is of great concern to the local wine industry.

DENNIS VICE, HIGHBANK WINES: We know for a fact that there are three aquifers. We’re actually standing just a matter of a few feet above the first aquifer and it’s a very unique situation in vineyard areas around the country.

LEAH MACLENNAN: Dennis Vice makes organic wine from his vineyards in Coonawarra and he’s deeply worried about Beach Energy’s exploration drills.

DENNIS VICE: Beach conducted a local meeting here and invited everyone to come along to kind of put their position forward, and I think from then on people began to realise that it was a reality, that they were really seriously going to do exploratory wells and put wells down through the aquifers, trying again to use the fracking technique to be able to extract gas from these wells that are tremendously deep.

LEAH MACLENNAN: Because the wells will go through aquifers, locals want to make sure there’s no leaking or contamination.

REG NELSON: What we will do, and this is part of our normal practice, is to drill and case those aquifers so that they’re entirely separated before we drill and possibly encounter any gas. Now I say this because people have drilled there and we have drilled there for so-called conventional gas and made gas discoveries and there’s been no detriment.

LEAH MACLENNAN: This is not the first time there’s been mineral exploration in the region.

Debbie Nulty’s farm adjoins Anne Daw’s property. In the early 1980s, Western Mining explored this area for brown coal. The pair say this old drill well is an example of what can go wrong.

DEBBIE NULTY, FARMER: We noticed that it was falling away from the side and we were concerned about the aquifer.

LEAH MACLENNAN: Beach Energy says it wouldn’t leave its wells in such a state, using this photo as an example of one of their rehabilitated drill holes.

REG NELSON: I’ve been farming most of my life in various areas, presently broadacre cropping. I’ve lived in rural communities, I empathise with rural communities. I believe in the Golden Rule, you know: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.

LEAH MACLENNAN: Initially the Nultys were told they would have to rehabilitate the well themselves, and if they didn’t, they could face a $15,000 fine.

And how much would it have cost you to rehabilitate yourself?

DEBBIE NULTY: I’m not sure about the costs because in my mind it wasn’t my drill hole and I really hadn’t even thought that I was ever going to fix the drill hole. It would have been – I would have, yes, yelled from the treetops before I would have fixed it, basically.

LEAH MACLENNAN: After long negotiations, the Government agreed to fix the dilapidated well.

It’s a small victory for Debbie Nulty and for Anne Daw, but these two women are fighting a much longer battle: trying to stop mining on agricultural land altogether.

Sidoarjo (Indonesia) mud flow – caused by Natural Gas drilling

Indonesian Mud Volcano due to Fracking

Amazing that it took 5 years for the majority of scientists to agree it was caused by drilling for gas – and that Santos paid a princely sum of about $22M to get out of it. To date I don’t think any compensation has been paid to all those home owners !

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Exxon CEO Comes Out Against Fracking Project Because It Will Affect His Property Values

This falls under the category of ironic!

Exxon CEO Comes Out Against Fracking Project Because It Will Affect His Property Values

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Movie Review – Gasland

Water bursting into flames, people felled by mysterious afflictions, corporate malfeasance: Josh Fox’s GasLand is neither a horror film nor a paranoid thriller, but it’s one of the scariest movies of the year. A low-budget, first person independent documentary, the movie is about the allegedly extensive and officially ignored environmental impact felt across a swathe of middle America following the drilling and extraction of natural gas reserves. It will make you think twice about basic fundamentals we take for granted, and remind you how persuasive the cinema can be.

Watch the trailer for the GasLand movie on the SBS website

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Part One of GasLand on youtube

Part Two of GasLand on youtube

See the followup to GasLands…. ‘the sky is pink’