Wednesday, August 31

Buyers Not Told of Coal Seam Gas Proposal

THE state government developer, Landcom, is under fire for not disclosing to potential buyers of its land in Spring Farm that AGL proposes to drill coal seam gas wells throughout the area.

It has also emerged that the energy company has plans to drill coal seam gas exploration wells at a separate Landcom site at Catherine Field, where the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has promised to accelerate the sale of thousands of lots to fulfil an election promise.

Landcom is urging prospective buyers to "inquire now" about land at its East Village project at Spring Farm.

However, there is no disclosure of the AGL plans to drill coal seam gas wells.  Read More

Camden Advertiser

Bligh Slams Demonisation of Gas Industry

A campaign to demonise the gas industry and a lack of skilled labour are key obstacles to Queensland and the nation reaping the full benefits of the mining boom, Premier Anna Bligh says.

She said there was $45 billion of new investment committed to liquefied natural gas projects in Queensland over the next three years.

Ms Bligh said a campaign of opposition to the gas industry risked the state and the nation not harnessing its full potential.

"One of the ... serious impediments is a very concerted campaign by some to demonise the gas industry," she told a business lunch in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"There is a very concerted campaign to bring down all fossil fuels and ... I think we need leadership and we need people speaking rationally about how we are as a country ... going to supply our energy needs over the next 20, 30 and 50 years."

But Ms Bligh identified a lack of skilled labour as the most significant potential impediment to the industry.  Read More

Yahoo7 News

Felton Mapping Blunder Uncovered

FELTON landowners have uncovered a Toowoomba Regional Council mapping blunder that would have resulted in Ambre Energy’s site being listed as a mining lease.

Since early 2009, Ambre has been attempting to get approval to develop an open-cut coal mine and petrochemicals plant on a 2000 hectare site near Felton.
Council’s draft scheme, which closes for public consultation on Friday, identifies the site as a mining lease despite Ambre not having yet received approval to mine the area.  Read More

Toowoomba Chronicle

Alan Jones: Talks with Sean Berry from Channel 7

Click Here  to listen to Alan Jones speak with Sean Berry - journalist Channel 7.

A 7News investigation has revealed a coal seam gas plant in outer Sydney has pumped acid rain-causing chemicals into the air for three years.

According to the report, electricity suppliers AGL plan to use the same plant for its future gas field project near Campbelltown.

Documents discovered by 7News allege the plant illegally polluted over three years running from the Rosalind Park plant, saying the plant emitted 30 per cent more acid-rain causing sulphur oxides than allowed; and that it exceeded the limits for hazardous waste stored on site.

Correspondence between the Environment Department and the Rosalind Park plant obtained by 7News says:

"The long-running nature of these non-compliances is unacceptable and must be addressed."
AGL responded to the 7News investigation saying that the Environment Department's complaints had been addressed, claiming there was never any danger. The electricity supplier has also confirmed that all safety requirements have been met at the plant. Campbelltown locals are concerned about AGL's plans for the area, telling 7News that the 72 wells due to be constructed near suburban areas are unwanted.

"Council's stance on the wells is basically that we don't want them in our area, that's the nuts of it." says Paul Lake, Campbelltown Mayor.

According to 7News, opposition to the plan is echoed by the Department of Environment who say, "There is potential for future land use conflict."

The Catchment Authority is concerned about the proximity of a pipeline to water supply saying it could, "adversely affect the quality of the water in the Upper Canal"

STATEMENT FROM AGL

"The issues raised by Channel 7 relate to superseded licence conditions which were modified in December 2010 in consultation with the EPA to reflect current EPA requirements. The plant now complies with these requirements which are monitored quarterly by external consultants.

"The previous levels were so low that it was difficult to confirm results in certified testing laboratories and in any event were well below any levels that would cause harm or environmental impact."

"The Rosalind Park facility is an excellent plant which meets the OEH's Environment Protection Licence conditions.

"In a letter to AGL regarding the new levels, the EPA noted: "The changes to the Sulphuric acid mist and sulphur trioxide limits reflect proper and efficient operation, will be achievable and will not adversely impact on local air quality in the surrounding environment".



Behind the Coal Seam Gas Battle

Across Eastern Australia disputes are erupting between coal mining corporations and farmers over extraction of coal seam gas (CSG). Under current legislation farmers only own their topsoil. Licensed mining companies are entitled to enter farms to carry out drilling or other operations.

Farmers may take legal action, but if they lose the case their only safeguards are the minor restrictions imposed in some states. CSG mining is banned within 200 metres of a house or 50 metres of a garden in NSW. The government of Queensland (which now has $46 billion in CSG investments) has imposed a ban on mining within two kilometres of towns, and other states have limitations, but none of them pose a real obstacle to the mining juggernauts.  Read More 

The Guardian

Bligh Government Keeps on Spinning About Protecting Farming Land from Mining

Today's announcement by Mines Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, that his department would provide free legal aid to central Queensland farmers faced by mining companies wanting to take over their land is just one more example of this government's one-sided approach to dealing with the destructive impacts of mining.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said central Queensland farmers had taken the most sensible step in the face of threats by mining companies to take over their land - they had locked the gate.

"Farmers on that beautiful cropping country in the Golden Triangle of central Queensland don't need some nerdy lawyer telling them what their rights are," Mr Hutton said.

"They simply need to stand together, refuse to negotiate with the mining companies and demand that the State Government and LNP Opposition adopt sensible policies to protect our food bowls."

Mr Hutton said if the Bligh government was serious about doing the right thing by central Queensland farmers, they would never have allowed coal mining company, Bandanna Energy, a loophole for getting around the proposed Strategic cropping Land legislation.

"This government and its LNP counterparts will do anything, say anything, rather than face up to their responsibility to protect good farm land, underground water systems and sensitive environmental areas from the impacts of mining," Mr Hutton said.

Lock The Gate Alliance

Carcinogenic Chemicals in 5 Water Bores Around the QLD Town of Dalby

Carcinogenic chemicals have just been detected in 5 water bores around the QLD town of Dalby. Debbi (pictured with her daughter) is a young mother from the area.

We met her last week as we continued our research into coal seam gas mining. See Debbi's story below - we need to make sure all our friends, family and colleagues join with us and sign the petition to stop coal seam gas mining until it's properly regulated.   Read More 

GetUp

CSG Industry Forced to Defend Environmental Credentials

The Coal Seam Gas industry is coming under increasing pressure to prove it can operate without damaging natural resources such as freshwater aquifers or agricultural land.

Coal Seam Gas company Arrow Energy last week announced the discovery of small traces of carcinogenic chemcials from banned BTEX chemicals (benzene, Toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) in monitoring bores near Dalby.

It is the latest in a series of contamination incidents in Southern Queensland over the past year that have called the industry's environmental credentials into question.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told the media that the detection was a positive sign that protection mechanisms were working.  Read More 

Beef Central

Water Scientists Issue Warning on Coal Seam Gas

Governments and scientists are questioning the impact that tens of thousands of coal seam gas wells will have on the environment.

In the next 10 or 20 years regional Queensland will see the number of wells rise from 4,000 to 30,000.

One key question is what to do with an estimated 30 million tonnes of salt, a by-product of extracting briny underground water to get at the gas hidden in the coal seams.   Read More 

ABC News Newcastle

Tuesday, August 30

More Tests at CSG Site After Carcinogens Find

Queensland's coal seam gas (CSG) enforcement unit has ordered further samples be taken from a monitoring bore on the state's Darling Downs where traces of carcinogenic chemicals have been found.

The BTEX chemicals were found in a shallow bore at Arrow Energy's fields near Dalby in southern Queensland, but the company says there is no connection to gas production.
Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) spokesman Andrew Brier says it is likely the chemicals leaked from grease on the bore casing.

"It'll be a matter of when we can get people from Arrow and people from the department to the field because we'd like to attend the monitoring as well and potentially take duplicate samples for analysis," he said.   Read More 

ABC News

Land Access - Can Agriculture Compete?

Queensland farmers supply some of the world’s best food and fibre – but can our state’s industry hold its own against mining and other land competitors?
This is the question AgForce Queensland will be putting to delegates when the broadacre group hosts the Landscape Competition Forum at the 2011 AgForce state conference – ‘What will we eat? ... making food security the global priority’ on the Sunshine Coast in September.
AgForce president Brent Finlay said ongoing access to productive agricultural land is one of the biggest challenges facing Queensland agriculture with the mineral and resources boom, spiralling leasehold rent costs and onerous government legislation such as Vegetation Management clouding the future of farming.
“Mining is an important part of Queensland’s economic prosperity, but this must be balanced against the need to protect food and fibre supply and ultimately food security,” Mr Finlay said.


QCL

Every CSG Aquifer Must Be Tested: Burke

Federal Environment and Water Minister Tony Burke says every single aquifer exposed to coal seam gas mining must be tested to ensure groundwater is not put at risk.

Lateline

Monday, August 29

Coal Mines to Replace Australian Farms?

Farming vs. Mining


Coal Seam Gas Mining:  It affects everyone.

Palmer's Coal Seam Gas Worries Clarified

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has clarified his recent comments about coal seam gas, saying he does support its development.

Mr Palmer on the weekend said overseas CSG companies were concerned the workforce in Australia was not well trained.

He also said the fledgling industry risked contaminating the water table if it wasn't operated correctly.

Premier Anna Bligh said it was obvious a coalminer would be critical of another energy industry.

But CSG industry representatives reacted angrily to the comments.   Read More 

Sky News

Region Fights For its Rights


Dawn Heath and Leeanne Undery, founders of the Southern Downs Protection Group, hosted the meeting.



TEN years ago the township of Acland, situated less than two hours from Warwick, had a population of 300 but since the establishment of an open cut coalmine just 2km from the centre, it has been reduced to a one-man town.

A meeting at the Warwick Cowboys clubhouse on Saturday heard as the mining company applies for stage three of its permit, Oakey residents are now looking nervously over the hills in fear of what an expansion could mean for their homes, health and lifestyle.

“Don’t allow mining to gain a foothold in your region as it has in ours,” Peter Faulkner from Oakey Coal Action Alliance told the crowd of 50 or so at the meeting.  Read More 

Warwick Daily News


Bligh Shouldn't Rely on Green Sheen: Newman

Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman has returned fire in a political tussle over election preference deals, demanding Premier Anna Bligh rule out a deal with the Greens.

Yesterday Ms Bligh took a swipe at her election rival, accusing Mr Newman of flirting with the prospect of swapping preferences with the newly re-registered One Nation Party.
 
Ruling out such a deal, Mr Newman tried today to turn the heat back onto Ms Bligh over a potential preferences deal between Labor and the Greens at the next state election.
 
The Greens attracted 8.37 per cent of the vote at the 2009 state election and, in a preference deal, encouraged voters in 14 of the 89 seats to nominate Labor as their second choice.


Brisbane Times

'Reef Becoming Coal and Gas Highway'

QUEENSLAND'S first Greens senator Larissa Waters has used her parliamentary debut to warn that the state’s tourism industry is in danger of having its prized asset turned into a ‘‘coal and gas highway’’.

Senator Waters delivered her first speech to federal parliament yesterday afternoon promising to give progressive Queenslanders a voice in Canberra.
 
Ms Waters spoke of the importance of agriculture and the Great Barrier Reef to Queensland as well as the threats to those industries from climate change, coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.   Read More 

QCL

Farmers in it for the long haul

AGFORCE has hit back at claims landholders are using the coal seam gas debate to make a quick buck.

AgForce Grains president Wayne Newton said there was an “increasing sentiment” within some metropolitan media and business circles that farmers were more interested in how much compensation they would be paid for coal seam gas extraction rather than the environmental toll mining could take on their farmland.
 
He said critics who believed landholders were simply interested in their short-term financial gain did not understand the mentality of farmers.
 

Mr Newton said farm owners were focused on the long-term viability and well-being of their land so they would be able to pass the property on to the next generation.
 

This had fuelled their concerns over CSG extraction.   Read More

QCL

Food Security Priority: Nash

NSW Nationals Senator, Fiona Nash, says future food security is a major issue in Australia and around the globe.

But she is worried the Federal government has no vision on how it wants rural Australia to look in 20 to 30 years or the policies required to ensure food security is taken care of in 2050, when the world’s population increases by about 40 percent to 9.1 billion, demanding more food be produced on less arable land and with less water.
 
Senator Nash says Australia must also position itself to take full advantage of opportunities to feed developing nations, and not only ensure domestic food security is controlled.
 
“People pull down the shudders and say it will never happen and don’t think about this issue but it is entirely possible,” she said.  Read More 

QCL

Mining Job Expo to be Held On Coast

A RESOURCE industry job expo will be staged on the Gold Coast in a few weeks' time to connect the city's unemployed with mining and construction companies who want willing workers.

Premier Anna Bligh this afternoon made the announcement on the Gold Coast following a summit between resource company executives, the State Government and councils.

Work for Queensland job expos will also be staged in Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, the Whitsunday region and the Wide Bay Burnett.

''We have significant numbers of Queenslanders, particularly in some regional areas, out of work and yet the mining industry is facing a skills shortage,'' Ms Bligh said.

''We know that as many as 38,000 construction and operation jobs will be created in the Queensland resources sector between now and 2014-2015. 


Goldcoast.com.au

Clive Palmer Blasts CSG Industry as Damaging To The Environment

BILLIONAIRE miner Clive Palmer has lashed out at the coal seam gas industry, saying it could harm the environment.

Palmer is Queensland's richest man and intends to oversee a multibillion-dollar expansion in the state's Galilee thermal coal basin.

Speaking at the National Party's federal council in Canberra on Saturday, Mr Palmer said concerns had been raised about the impact of Australia's fledgling CSG industry.

A Senate inquiry is examining the impact of CSG on the economy, society and environment.

Read More

Courier Mail

Q+A-Regulating Australia's Coal Seam Gas Sector

(Reuters) - Opposition to Australia's coal seam gas industry, which is due to sink around $70 billion into projects in the eastern state of Queensland over the next few years, appears to be growing with calls for new legislation to regulate the industry.

A recent poll released by Australia's Greens party, which is strongly opposed to the industry, showed that 70 percent of respondents want coal seam gas mining banned in urban areas, while 68 percent want a moratorium on coal seam gas in Australia until the effects on the environment are more fully known.

Here are some questions and answers about the industry:

WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS AROUND COAL SEAM GAS AND "FRACCING"?


Reuters

Warning Not to Negotiate on Gas

MORE than 130 landholders, residents and business owners gathered at the Bulahdelah School of Arts Hall on Saturday to learn more about coal seam gas (CSG) exploration in the Myall area and the effects it could have on the community.

Grave concern is swelling across NSW about the rapid expansion of CSG exploration.
"We don't want them doing to our land what they've done in Queensland," Markwell landholder Dave Saul said.
 
"They've left nothing but devastation and heartache and we're not going to let it happen here."
Guest speaker Drew Hutton, president of the Lock the Gate Alliance, sent a strong message to the audience.   Read More

Myall Coast Nota

Australian Mining Tycoon Blasts Coal Seam Gas

SYDNEY: Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer on Saturday hit out at the country’s growing coal seam gas industry, saying there were concerns it could lead to environmental contamination.

Palmer, who has plans to expand Queensland’s open-cut and underground thermal coal mining operations, said he had reservations about Coal Seam Gas (CSG), typically methane found trapped in coal beds often released using water. Read More 

The Lahore Times

Zircon's Take-off May Be Only The Beginning of Boom

WORRIED about copper? Frantic about zinc? Then think zircon. Between 2000 and 2007 it tripled to $US900 a tonne. That was only the beginning.
Last week, Iluka Resources (ILU) reported its first-half results showing it received an average $US1450/tonne for zircon. Those results also showed that, by July, the price was above $US2000 per tonne and you hear plenty of talk around the sector that contracts being set at $US3000 are not far away.

In a recent announcement, Alkane Resources (ALK) noted that strong zircon demand, combined with a tightening supply, had fuelled a dramatic increase in prices. Contracted zircon prices from mineral sands companies were $US1700 to $US2000/tonne in the June quarter while spot prices hit $US3200/tonne, it reported.  Read More 

The Australian

12 onth Moratorium for Coal Seam Gas

State Leader of the Australian Party, Aidan McLindon, has today announced three key elements of the Australian’s party’s policy on the coal seam gas industry.

1. Moratorium on the CSG industry for a period of 12 months
2. Landholders to have the right to refuse entry to mining companies
3. The Great Artesian Basin be protected as a “no go zone”

“These measures will give certainty to all Queenslanders in striking the right balance between the mining industries and the rights of the landowner,” Mr McLindon said.

“No political party should sit back while this flawed industry steamrolls Queensland communities.  Read More 

mysunshinecoast.com.au

Palmer Blasts 'Poisonous' Coal Seam Gas Industry

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has launched a scathing attack on Australia's coal seam gas industry, saying the technology is unproven and could have a devastating environmental impact.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the industry on water sources and its inability to find a permanent solution for waste disposal.

There is also a community outcry over the inability of landholders to say no to gas companies wanting to search for gas on their properties.

A Senate inquiry is examining the economic, social and environmental impacts of coal seam gas.  Read More 

ABC News

Carcinogens Found in Coal Seam Gas Project

Traces of carcinogenic chemicals have been found in monitoring bores at a coal seam gas operation on Queensland's Darling Downs.

Arrow Energy says it has advised regulators that small traces of so-called "B-Tex" chemicals have been detected in shallow bores near the southern inland town of Dalby.

The company says the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management will determine whether the chemicals are naturally occurring or introduced through grease used in the drilling process.

Arrow Energy says while traces of the chemicals were found in monitoring bores, there is no connection to gas production, and the aquifer is not used for stock or domestic water.   

ABC News

Bligh Downplays Carcinogens Find at CSG Site

Premier Anna Bligh says the discovery of chemicals at a coal seam gas (CSG) operation on Queensland's Darling Downs proves the system is working.

Arrow Energy has advised regulators small traces of carcinogenic chemicals BTEX have been detected in monitoring bores near Dalby.

BTEX chemicals contain benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes.
The company says the acquifer is not used for stock or domestic water and there is no connection to gas production.  Read More 

ABC News

Wednesday, August 24

Feel Pain But No Gain From Boom

LIMITED BENEFIT: While mining has given us a two-speed economy, claims about its importance ignore the fact that 97 per cent of us don't work in that sector. Picture: Bloomberg Source: The Courier-Mail
THE mining boom in Queensland might be big but it certainly isn't broad. While the mining industry tries to suggest otherwise, the simple fact is millions of Queenslanders bear the pain of the mining boom without receiving any of the gain.   
Yes, the mining industry employs people and yes, they spend some of their money in local shops and yes,the mining companies even pay some tax, but that does not mean the average Queenslander is benefiting from the boom.

The most insidious way the mining boom hurts ordinary Australians is through its impact on mortgage interest rates. As the mining boom took off, the Reserve Bank of Australia started to increase interest rates to rein in the "two-speed economy".  Read More

Courier Mail

Plan to Store Gas Near Tomago Aquifer


HUNTER Water has expressed concern about a proposed gas storage plant that would lie within the catchment area for the Tomago sandbeds, which help provide drinking water for the Lower Hunter.
AGL has proposed the $300million plant on land off Old Punt Road and has lodged an application with the Department of Planning.

The project includes a processing plant, storage tank for up to 30,000tonnes of liquid natural gas, a receiving station at Hexham to link the project into the state gas network and a pipeline from Hexham to the plant.

In a submission to the project this month, Hunter Water said the development fell within the south-western section of an area that protected the Tomago Aquifer drinking water source. The aquifer supplied 20 to 25per cent of the Lower Hunter’s drinking water.  Read More

Newcastle Herald

Caution In The Gas Rush

AUSTRALIA could become the "Saudi Arabia of gas", according to the federal Minister for Regional Development, Simon Crean.

It's a descriptive expression, capable of interpretation to suit the opinions of both major camps in the gas debate.

To those companies now rushing to prove resources and planning pipelines, power stations and export terminals, the description conjures notions of vast energy profits.

To those who are worried about the potential effects of thousands of gas wells on the nation's underground water resources, the desert imagery matches their fears.

Mr Crean, in the remainder of his Saudi Arabia speech, said the only things a federal minister could sensibly say on the subject.  Read More

Newcastle Herald

Gas Information Sessions: Eastern Star Gas

The controversial Eastern Star Gas proposal will come under the spotlight in Maitland next month as part of a widespread consultation process on the Coolah to Newcastle Gas Pipeline project.

Eastern Star Gas (ESG) will host a series of community information sessions in Morpeth, Beresfield, Merriwa, Elderslie and Denman to give residents the opportunity to view information about the project.

ESG is seeking planning approval from both state and federal governments for the pipeline project, which will deliver gas from the Narrabri Gas Project to a proposed facility at Kooragang Island.

“ESG recognises the community has a keen interest in the project and believes the community information sessions will be a valuable opportunity for a two-way sharing of information to take place,” ESG’s executive general manager stakeholder relations, Peter Fox, said.

The community information sessions will be held at St James Anglican Church Hall, Morpeth, on Monday, September 5, between 3pm and 7pm, and Francis Greenway High School on Tuesday, September 6, between 3pm and 7pm.

The format of the sessions will be informal.

The Maitland Mercury

Gold Fever Heats Up: Loomberah Farmers Hot Under Collar About Mining Plans

SEEKING ANSWERS: Loomberah district landholders, from left, Kevin Tongue, Ildu Monticone, Rebecca Barwick, Donald Barwick and Alison Hartigan. Photo: Barry Smith 230811BSA04

FIRST it was Caroona, then came parts of the Narrabri, Pilliga and Moree districts. Now it’s Loomberah’s turn. The miners are moving in – this time looking for gold – and the farmers are not happy.

They’re so concerned after their questions about the exploration proposal, which covers an area of 1800 square kilometres, have been unanswered that they have called a meeting to discuss mining and its potential impact on prime agricultural land.

Loomberah landholders Kevin Tongue and Ildu Monticone say that questions put to the exploration licence holder were not answered to the satisfaction of people in the district.

At the heart of the issue are a number of mining licence advertisements published in The Leader and The Land in late June on behalf of a New Zealand-based private company called Gold of Ophir Pty Ltd.  Read More

The Northern Daily Leader

Wandoan Mine Means Jobs: Xstrata

Swiss mining giant Xstrata yesterday defended its planned Wandoan coal mine in south-east Queensland, arguing that it met environmental standards and would reap billions of dollars in royalties for the state ­government.  Read More

AFR

It's Our Coal, Does It Matter Who Burns It?

AUSTRALIA'S responsibility to consider the greenhouse gas emissions generated by coal exported to other countries will be tested as part of a court hearing starting today against a giant Queensland mine.
Environment group Friends of the Earth Brisbane is challenging the planned Xstrata mine at Wandoan, 350 kilometres west of Brisbane, which is set to be Queensland's biggest single coal producer, and perhaps the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
The export-focused mine has already been given conditional state government approval to mine 30 million tonnes of coal per year for the next 30 years.
Scientists called by FOE as expert witnesses will tell the Queensland Land Court the impact of the greenhouse gases from the burning of the mine's coal will be global in scale, causing global temperatures to rise, thousands of homes to flood and putting the Great Barrier Reef at further risk of collapse.  Read More

Brisbane Times

Gas Industry Faces Opposition in Australia and South Africa

As an energy boom propelled by natural gas continues to gather steam, mining and drilling companies square off with landowners around the globe over who has the right to resources deep below ground.

While landowners took to the streets in Australia in mid-August to demand greater protection against the country’s potentially lucrative coal seam gas industry, opposition groups in South Africa were mustering strength against shale gas exploration that they say could threaten South Africa’s nationally important Karoo region.

Australia and South Africa are among an increasing number of countries around the world reckoning with the prospects of developing unconventional fuels to bring revenue, diversify their energy sources and reduce their carbon emissions.  Read More

Circle of Blue


Growth Powers Origin

ORIGIN Energy has flagged another year of 30 per cent earnings growth as it benefits from the $1.9 billion purchase of New South Wales government energy assets earlier this year, while increasing spending on its ambitious liquefied natural gas export project in Queensland.

Earnings before interest, tax and depreciation surged by 32 per cent in the year to June 30, although the cost of acquisitions and other write-offs slashed the net profit to just $186 million, down 70 per cent.


The Age

Political Miss on Mining of Farm Land


Critical issue: The Nationals must make their voice heard in the debate about mining on fertile farming land

BOTH major parties fail to recognise the importance of food security and landholders' rights, writes LESLIE WHITE

At a time when we accept the world needs to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050, one would think preserving farmland and water resources would be a key to planning.

Yet neither Labor nor the Liberals are giving these things the importance they deserve in the mining-versus-farming debate.  Read More

Weekly Times

Tuesday, August 23

Abbott Wades Into CSG Debate

In my last blog on coal seam gas (28 June – Temperature rises on coal seam gas) I warned of the political dangers facing the new NSW liberal-national party coalition government around the rapidly growing debate over coal seam gas extraction on private farm land.

Potential impacts on groundwater resources and surface streams are a big part of the public concerns, although the broader environmental and aesthetic elements of gas heads spread across private farms and rural landscapes are part of the story too.

I said then, and nothing has changed since, that the NSW state government will have to very carefully balance the interests of its own coalition – the traditional Liberal* party support for big business (the mining industry in this case) and the rural and farming concerns of the National Party. Read More

Gary Jones (Inside Water)

Drilling Starts at Putty



Dart Energy started to drill a core hole on Friday 19 August to explore for coal seam gas at 8646 Putty Road. By Saturday afternoon they had drilled down to approximately 100m and started to set the blowout prevention equipment on the hole. This was expected to be completed on Monday.
Putty landholders were advised to take samples of bore water when it was discovered that another mining company was offering an independent specialist to test the bore water of landholders near an exploration core hole.  Read More
Putty Gasbag

PUBLIC RALLY: SYDNEY

CEO Leaves St Peters Gas Mine Meeting Early

ANGRY St Peters residents roundly booed the CEO of the energy company planning exploratory coal seam drilling in the suburb for his early exit from a public information session.

More than 200 people packed into St Peters Town Hall on August 16 to hear what Dart Energy representatives had to say about their plans for coal seam gas drilling at the Dial-A-Dump site in Holland StRead More

Climate Action Newtown

Waters Pays Tribute to Queensland Spirit

Queensland's first Greens politician has paid tribute to the flood victims and 35 lives lost in her home state during her inaugural speech to the Australian Senate.
Senator Larissa Waters received a standing ovation from the public gallery after her speech on Tuesday evening.
She said from the depths of this loss grew a great sense of common purpose after Queensland endured its worst flooding since 1974.
"I will never forget the image of a man rescuing an injured kangaroo joey from floodwaters, carrying it in his arms to safety," she told the chamber.  Read More

NINEMSNEWS

CSG Company Shares Rise After Takeover Offer

Shares in Queensland coal seam gas explorer Bow Energy are now trading about 60 per cent higher after a $520 million takeover offer by foreign-owned Arrow Energy.
Bow Energy shares closed trade yesterday at $1.41, just below the $1.48 per share price offered by Arrow.
Arrow Energy, jointly owned by PetroChina and Royal Dutch Shell, is developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility at Curtis Island off Gladstone and wants to build on its coal seam gas assets in Queensland to maximise output at the plant. Read More

ABC Rural

Alan Jones: Speaks With Drew Hutton (Tuesday 23.08.2011)

Click Here To Listen to Alan Jones Speaking With Drew Hutton (Lock The Gate Alliance)

Lock the Gate Alliance; Test For Qld Land Access Laws

President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, will be appearing in the Chinchilla Magistrate’s Court this Thursday charged with obstructing a coal seam gas company ‘without reasonable excuse’.

Mr Hutton was arrested in March this year during a blockade of the coal seam gas company, QGC, at the Tara residential estate in south-west Queensland. He was there at the invitation of the landowner who was in dispute with the company over the terms of his access agreement with QGC. Read More

Radio Adelaide

Merriwa Rejects Gas


CONCERN: Merriwa Healthy Environment Group president Graham Brown and secretary Ted Finnie with guest speakers Charmaine Cook and Tony Pickard after the coal seam gas meeting in Merriwa on Wednesday night.

A public meeting in Merriwa last week attracted 90 residents who unanimously voiced opposition to the spread of coal seam gas extraction and the encroachment of a gas pipeline, according to organisers from the Merriwa Healthy Environment Group.

Guest speakers told of their personal experiences of dealing with gas companies.

Sheep farmer Tony Pickard, whose property fronts onto the Pilliga State Forest, told of his five-year battle with a gas company operating an expanding gas field inside the forest.

Charmaine Cook, who operates a cropping and cattle property at Coolah with her husband Peter, displayed images of massive erosion on their land which she said was caused by the installation of an underground gas pipeline.

Both speakers recommended landowners interact with gas personnel with caution and check websites such as Lock The Gate, and talk with neighbours, their own solicitor and the Environmental Defender’s Office.  Read More

Hunter Valley News

Campaigners Step up Mining Fght

ANTI-mining campaigners have stepped up their opposition to the State Government’s new mining exploration policy.
Toowoomba Coal Mine Action Group spokesman James Wiltshire said the policy offered “no real protection” for small towns at risk of mining projects.
He said the legislation was a step in the right direction, but towns with fewer than 1000 residents had reaped no benefit.  Read More

Toowoomba Chronicle

Greens and Farmers Try to Put an End to Fracking in Australia

The federal parliament will test the support of the major parties for coal seam mining this week in Australia. The Australian Greens are to introduce a bill to increase the rights of land owners and protect the quality of water along with an independent MP.

Independent MP Tony Windsor wants the Coal Seam Gas industry to slow down and will introduce the private member’s bill on Monday to extend the existing federal environmental laws. This is based on fears of farmers in rural Queensland and New South Wales who say that the process of fracking will poison the underground water, contaminate arable land be the cause of health troubles for people in the region.  Read More 

AZ Mining

Bligh May Expand Ban on CSG Exploration

Queensland Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says the Bligh government's ban on gas and coal exploration near urban areas could be expanded to include larger population centres.

AFR

Wandoan takes on Xstrata

Xstrata's proposal to build the largest coalmine in the southern hemisphere on the doorstep of the regional southern Queensland township of Wandoan will be tested in the Queensland Land Court over the next two weeks, after landholders and environmental group Friends of the Earth made objections to the $7 billion development.  Read More

AFR

Monday, August 22

An Open Letter to Drew Hutton Facing Court for Trying to Protect our Land

Good luck on Thursday, Drew.

There is no doubt about the immorality of CSG extraction and coalmining on productive land and in people’s homes, but the laws are not geared towards what is best for Australia’s food security, nor what is best for the aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin, nor for the atmosphere as methane leaks, nor for the destruction of family lives and the peace of communities. On these grounds alone you have an absolute reasonable excuse.

The work you have done for the farmers and communities of the Darling Downs is sowing seeds across the country sustained by your’s and the farmers courage to stand up against multi-nationals and Australian companies out for a fast buck whatever the damage they do.

Drew, you should be proud of what you have achieved for all of us in bringing the pernicious industrialisation of our land and its resources to the public consciousness. I am!  Read More

Noosa Greens Blogsite

Note from The Black Cockatoo:  Chinchilla - Thursday.... A great place for like minded people to gather to show support for Drew  SQUAWK!!  SQUAWK!!!

Parliament to Debate Two CSG Bills



The major parties' bipartisan support for the coal seam gas (CSG) mining industry will be tested in federal parliament this week when the Greens and a key independent MP introduce bills to increase the rights of land owners and protect water quality.
Independent MP Tony Windsor wants to slow down the 'frenzy' of development in the CSG industry and is planning to introduce a private member's bill on Monday extending existing federal environmental laws.
In rural Queensland and NSW, farmers are concerned that the CSG industry's fracking process - the injection of chemicals, water and sand at high pressures to crack rock and release gas - will poison underground water, contaminate good agricultural soil and cause serious health problems. 


Bigpond News (21 Aug)

Mining Buffers Not Enough: AgForce

RURAL tensions about the sprawling mining and exploration boom have not been allayed by Premier Anna Bligh's move to restrict mining activities around regional centres and towns with a population of 1000 or more.
Talk around the traps is of a cynical move on the part of the State Government with an eye on winning votes in urban areas in the upcoming election.
Small townships like Jondaryan, Felton and Tara, plus a raft of Darling Downs communities, are exempt from the new initiative which follows farming group concerns over the eight criteria set out in Labor's strategic cropping lands (SCL) policy.
Earlier this week, Premier Bligh said no mining exploration will be allowed in and around urban areas of Queensland, including regional centres such as Ipswich, Toowoomba, Beaudesert, Rockhampton, Mackay and St George.  Read More

QCL

Lock the Gate, Says Felton ampaigner

EMBATTLED Felton district producers lobbying to stave off an open-cut mine and petro-chemical plant say a new rail proposal will "turn the inner Darling Downs into one huge mine pit."  Read More

QCL

Bore War: Residents Fight Coal Seam Gas


CONCERN: Sue Walker, Robyn Jones, Lisa McDonald and Stephen Walker near the site of the test drilling.

THE coal seam gas industry has arrived in suburban Newcastle with the Singapore-based Dart Energy test drilling for gas on the edge of the Tomago sandbeds.

The Tomago sandbeds supply about 20per cent of Hunter Water’s drinking water and residents living near Dart Energy’s Fullerton Cove test site are up in arms about the company’s plans.

A spokeswoman for Hunter Water said that based on ‘‘a preliminary discussion’’ with Dart Energy, its test-drilling program was outside of the formal Tomago sandbeds drinking water catchment area and did not involve hydraulic fracturing or ‘‘fracking’’.  Read More

Newcastle Herald

Corporate Spin Has Role, But Doesn't Help When Trouble Strikes

THERE'S a quiet irony in the fact that journalists love to hate spin - the art of manipulating facts and figures to make a client look good - yet most of the best spin doctors have a background in journalism. Moving from journalism to public relations is often sneeringly referred to as "going to the dark side".   
But it's not surprising that many do; journalists learn from day one how to present their stories to grab readers' attention, so it's no great stretch to present information in a manner designed to enhance a client's interest.   Read More

The Australian

Farmers and Miners Fight for Same Space


Angry farmers rally against the development of a high pressure gas pipeline. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Mining fertile land for coal-seam gas produces a dilemma: economic growth or food production.

JUST a few hours out of Sydney, you can see first-hand the economic tensions sparked by the resources boom. Not far from the country music capital, Tamworth, lies some of the country's most fertile agricultural land that produces more than a third of our cereal crops, the Liverpool Plains. In direct competition with farmers are coal and gas companies, which are hell-bent on extracting the riches that lie beneath the soil.

The two sides have coexisted in the past, and in many cases still do. But the resources bonanza has made this always delicate relationship a whole lot messier.  Read More

WA today.com.au


Saturday, August 20

Greens Bill to Limit Coal Seam Access

Groundswell: The coal seam gas industry is on the nose for landowners. Picture: Jeff Camden Source: The Courier-Mail

THE Greens will introduce a Bill into federal parliament next week to force coal seam gas companies to get written approval from landowners before they can enter their land.   
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said in Sydney today that landowners should have the right to say no.

Senator Waters said it beggared belief that farmers could not say no to mining companies who wanted to access their land.

There needed to be a moratorium until the full impacts of coal seam gas mining were understood, she said.  Read More

The Daily Telegraph

State Premiers Turn up Heat on Greens Over Their Reservations About CSG

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has lashed the Greens over their attacks on the coal seam gas industry, warning the party can't cherry pick science to suit its ideology.   
As state premiers converged on Canberra today for the Council of Australian Governments, Ms Bligh threw her support behind coal seam gas as an environmentally-friendly transitional fuel.
“There is absolutely no doubt that if Australia wants a clean energy future, gas has to be part of that and it has to be part of our transition,” Ms Bligh said.  Read More

The Australian

Billions at Stake But Santos Boss is Cool in the Face of Raging Hysteria Over CSG

SANTOS boss David Knox is obviously finding it surprisingly easy not to panic. But it is hard to see how that can be, given his $US16 billion ($15.4bn) Queensland coal-seam dream has been encircled by an increasingly unpredictable political firestorm while, to the distant north, another $US2.1bn bet on a more conventional gas has been infected by sovereign risk courtesy of PNG's new mining minister.   
Such is life in a resources boom: the natural partner of the rising profits and big-ticket capital investment being generated by Asian demand for raw materials seems to be festering community anxiety over the changes being wrought by success and a debilitating outbreak of political opportunism that ranges well beyond Australian shores.  Read More

The Australian

Is Coal Seam Gas Worth The Risk?



The Answers:

THE MINER:   RICK WILKINSON

IF YOU use gas at home, there's a good chance you will use coal seam gas (CSG) to boil your next cup of tea.

A third of eastern Australia's natural gas already comes from coal seams. More than 80 per cent of our known reserves are CSG, and the CSIRO estimates that Queensland and NSW have enough CSG to power a city of 5 million people for more than 1000 years.


Sydney Morning Herald



Plan Puts Queensland Cotton and Cattle Family's Future on the Rails

Galilee Basin cattle and cotton farmer Marcell Hall says his farm will be dissected by the three rail lines propsed by the new mines. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: The Australian


ON Marcel Hall's Galilee Basin cotton and cattle property, Queensland's summer of horror rain has led to its most fertile year in decades, with cows fatter than he's ever seen and a bumper $5 million cotton crop.   
But the 57-year-old, whose family has farmed on some of Australia's best cattle-fattening country north of Clermont in central Queensland since halfway through last century, fears it could be one of the property's last.

Mr Hall's 32,000ha Laurel Hills and Willesley stations are sandwiched in the middle of Australia's next coal-boom region, where India's Adani Group is vying with mining barons Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart to develop a massive new network of mines, coal freight rail lines and ports.  Read More

The Australian

Greens Seek Major Parties' Support on CSG

The Greens are calling on both major parties to listen to the community and back their bill to give farmers the power to block mining exploration on their land.

"The community is way out ahead of the government and the opposition, they want our food security protected," said Queensland's Greens Senator Larissa Waters.

"It's incumbent on the major parties to think long and hard about their position on this bill."
The Greens' bill will struggle to get passed when it's introduced to federal parliament on Wednesday, after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this week declared he wouldn't back it.  Read More

The Age