A crash course in CSG’s courtship of farmers: @Thom_Mitchell reports from #Pilliga #leardblockade

“IF the people of Narrabri think they’re going on a date with the handsome new stranger in town, they’re going to go home and find they’ve been raped,” president of People for the Plains, Hugh Barrett, said as we strained to hear. Hugh was giving an interview to ABC radio Tamworth. He was referring to the courtship of Narrabri and surrounds by Coal Seam Gas company (CSG), Santos. People for the Plains is a group fighting to block the development of CSG on the Liverpool Plains. Hugh was speaking on behalf of twenty-five people who’d spent three days touring South East Queensland, talking to people living in and around CSG fields […]

Show us the #CSG data on health and wellbeing: Mark Doyle reports

By Mark Doyle What are the risks of coal seam gas mining on the health and wellbeing of people and their communities? I am a facts and figures kind of person. When people claim health benefits for coffee or chocolate, or health risks from eating saturated fats, my response is, ‘show me the data!’ Such data are generated through well designed epidemiological studies. Studies of chemical exposures can be complex to design and interpret. Researchers often need to disentangle possible associations with a range of illnesses, and multiple exposures. For example, farmers frequently use pesticides and herbicides, and farms can be risky places to live and work. If you add […]

An uneasy truce: Sally MacKinnon reports

  By Sally MacKinnon I live on top of a mountain on the edge of Lamington National Park, the largest protected subtropical rainforest in the world. It is on the eastern edge of the Scenic Rim region, a Local Government Area (LGA) in south-east Queensland covering 4256 square kilometres. It is home to approximately 39,000 people living in towns, villages, hamlets, farmland and forests including Aratula, Beaudesert, Beechmont, Boonah, Canungra, Kalbar, Kerry, Lost World Valley, Kooralbyn, Mount Barney, Mount Maroon, Rathdowney, Tamborine and Tamborine Mountain. We live on the edge of the McPherson Overlap where the southern tip of Queensland’s tropical rainforests meets the northern reach of Australia’s southern temperate […]

#CSG showdown in Gloucester @1earthmedia reports

By Mark Anning reports from Gloucester, NSW The NSW Government is considering an application by giant gas company AGL to begin the controversial and risky process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at Forbesdale, just south of Gloucester in the Manning Valley NSW – less than 300 metres from the nearest family home and less than 600 metres from 35 homes in a zoned residential area. Premier O’Farrell is expected to announce his decision this month on AGL’s application to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas for their Review of Environmental Factors (REF)  for a fracking stimulation management plan – and local residents are digging in to fight the good fight. Federal […]

A fair go – the right to say ‘no’: Phil Laird reports

  By Phil Laird Weeks of rumours that peak industry bodies were providing input into the proposed amendments to the Petroleum (Onshore) Act, regarding access agreements and permits, finally found their way into social media. The Act has had amendments proposed, the most controversial of which are about access to land for petroleum (read: unconventional gas) exploration. NSW irrigators confirmed on Twitter that the Land and Water Commissioner, Jock Laurie, is in discussions about the development of a draft code for access in order to push forward the NSW Government’s CSG  agenda. Mr Laurie and NSW Farmers are yet to make comment. In recent times, the community has been mobilising house […]

#CSG: Conspiracies, mouthpieces and independence: Mark Anning @1earthmedia reports

By Mark Anning On 28 July 2013, the oil and gas industry peak body – Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) – issued a press release, stating: “The recent coal seam gas episode of ABC 2’s Shitsville Express was a pleasant surprise – a balanced piece of reporting on coal seam gas.” Shitsville Express is hosted by Joe Hildebrand, who, according to his Daily Telegraph Google blurb, writes ‘opinion commentary’. Is Joe Hildebrand an opinion commentator? A comedian? Is he a PR man? Or is he a journalist – as described by his Daily Telegraph bio –  bound by the MEAA journalists’ code of ethics? The day after Shitsville […]

Lobbyists and public commentary: Reith in the spotlight – Mark Anning @1EarthMedia reports

By Mark Anning It was interesting to see the opinion piece written by Peter Reith for The Drum – Fracking scare campaigns threaten our prosperity – especially considering Reith is a paid political lobbyist and chairman of the Victorian Government’s task force on the eastern gas market. “The public debate is soon mired in myriad false claims, partly because government has not ensured the public is fairly informed and because some activists have other political agendas,” writes Reith. To ensure that the public is fairly informed, and agendas and vested interests are properly tabled, it should be noted that Peter Reith is a lobbyist for First State Advisors and Consultants Pty Ltd. Who […]

Same state, different rules: Penny Blatchford @NoCSGGurley asks why some people in NSW get special treatment?

By Penny Blatchford Most Australians enjoy the freedom to make choices about their lives – whom we marry, if we will have children, where we live and where we work. It would seem for people like me who choose to marry a farmer, have a family, live on the farm and make that farm our primary business, our freedom to continue to choose our life is being taken away. Governments across Australia, without any sense of balance or democracy, are choosing to turn our countryside , including our wilderness and our farms into a nationwide industrial gasfield. On 3 October 2013, the NSW government continued to make choices on our behalf […]

Black Rain: Waiting for results in Tara – Rob Rimmer reports

By Rob Rimmer On August 2, 2013 Western Downs resident Steve Ansford made a complaint to Origin Energy’s local office at Chinchilla regarding mysterious environmental and health impacts occurring on his property at Upper Humbug Road, near Tara in Queensland. For the second day running, southerly winds appeared to have brought an overnight shower: drops of a sticky black substance ‘with a chemical-type odour’ lay across the Ansfords’ land, house and roof — the harvesting-point for the family of four’s domestic water supply. Meanwhile, blobs deposited on the first day had begun bleaching the duco of his car. In addition to the mysterious ‘black rain’ and strange, offensive odours, the […]

Conflicts of interest, Tara data and baseline studies: Katherine Marchment reports

[clear] By Katherine Marchment CSG is suspected to have negative impacts on the environment (water, air and soil), as well as economically and on human and animal health. The information that can be accessed about this is too abundant for one article. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, I will concentrate only on the health impacts on residents of the Tara Estates in Queensland, which a report by Queensland Health states are unrelated to the gas fields around them. Below is a table of some gasses that have been shown by the Australian Government National Pollutant Inventory to have been emitted from compressor stations around Tara. Known health effects of […]