Tuesday, January 31

EDITORIAL: Obama’s frack attack

Leftists see need to thwart development of affordable energy

President Obama taking credit for higher oil and natural gas production is like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise. Contrary to the words on the teleprompter at last week’s State of the Union address, any success for these fossil fuels has come in spite of administration policies. Unless the president sticks to his promise of an “all-out, all-of-the-above” energy strategy and keeps the carbon haters at bay, America's energy future will be at risk.

Just as Mr. Obama made no mention in his speech that he had just shut down the Keystone XL oil pipeline, he also skipped over “fracking,” the process of natural gas extraction that has become a dirty word among his radical, self-proclaimed environmental allies. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped into underground seams to crack shale rock and release trapped pockets of natural gas. The industry is employing this process throughout the expansive Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches from Ohio southeast to Virginia and northeast to New York, containing hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of gas.


The Washington Times

Fracking in Europe - The Rebellion Grows

Food Production v Mineral Extraction

There are questions today about the future of the government's promise to consider excluding prime agricultural land from mining and coal seam gas activities.

In its election promise the Coalition said that it would identify the best places for agriculture, mining and coal seam gas extraction.

It also promised to examine enhanced buffer zones and 'ring fencing' with particular reference to proximity to communities and effect on established industries.

And to examine options to protect prime agricultural land so that natural gas development exists in a balanced manner.

Read More

ABC New England North West

Delays hinder release of affordable housing plan

The delay of a single signature has repeatedly prevented the release of a key affordable housing strategy for the Western Downs.

The strategy, paid for by mining company QGC, was presented to council for adoption in a meeting last Wednesday and was due to be released to the media and public on the same day.

Instead, the report has been delayed multiple times, with council repeatedly changing the release date.

Council said yesterday the strategy would become available today.

Both QGC and Western Downs Regional Council have had access to the strategy since before Christmas.

Councillor Ray Jamieson said the council had been "hounding" QGC to get back to them after they had perused the strategy, completed by consultants KPMG.

Under contractual arrangements, the report could not be released to the public until the coal seam gas company had looked at the report.


Toowoomba Chronicle

Mining threat to Manning

MANNING Clean Water Action Group (MCWAG) will renew their efforts to raise community awareness of the growing threat of mining to the Manning Valley.

This follows the release of a study by the University of Massachusetts.
 
The study, Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health by Dr Michelle Bamberger and Professor Robert E Oswald, published in New Solutions: a journal of environmental and occupational health policy by the University of Massachusetts, investigates a number of animal and health incidents related to gas extraction in six US states. It found that stock and domestic animals died, got sick or had a higher number of still births and deformities when exposed to chemicals emanating from gas extraction.
 
The study finds that fracking and waste products from gas extraction are implicated in the deaths of quite a lot of livestock and companion animals, still births and deformities. It also details links between fracking pollution and human health.
 
This has implications for Australia given many of the chemicals and techniques for coal seam gas here are common with unconventional gas extraction in the US.


Manning River Times

Miners to fight rising resource nationalism



Mining companies are planning to fight government plans to increase resource taxes. Picture: Luke Marsden Source: The Courier-Mail

THE heads of the world's largest miners have met to discuss the increasing threat of resource nationalism as governments around the world look to earn a greater slice of their record profits.
Senior executives from the biggest miners met in Davos last week to discuss a range of issues, including a unified response to resource nationalism. Among the companies represented were Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Codelco and Rusal, according to a report in The Times.

The executives, attending the World Economic Forum, are understood to have decided that it was not possible to pursue collective action. They hope, though, that if many companies separately use the same argument they will persuade governments that raising taxes will have damaging long-term consequences.

"We have to speak individually but with the same argument," one participant told The Times.
"We have to tell these people that we have other alternatives. We can go elsewhere. We have to choose where to put our capital."


The Australian

Carl Stiles - A Victim of Gas Drilling Contamination: Read His Story


Here is the story of Carl Stiles who died this week from illness very likely caused by gas drilling contamination.

 
Judy and Carl Stiles lived in the Sugar Run Area of Bradford County.  Carl's death came very swiftly. He and Judy moved to the area in November of 2010. 

In January of 2011 Chesapeake Energy knocked on their door and offered a lease and promised that they would not have a well, but would make a lot of money from a pipeline.  They signed.  Now Judy is very sick and Carl is dead from cancer.

Click Here to Read This Amazing Story

Gas Wells Are Not Our Friend Blog 

Idaho Gas Drillers And Counties Reach Controversial Agreement

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group representing Idaho counties and a group representing companies interested in tapping natural gas in the state announced an agreement Sunday on legislation they plan to introduce into the Idaho Legislature next month.

The Idaho Association of Counties and the Idaho Petroleum Council said the guidelines will allow counties some control over natural gas development, while natural gas wildcatters will have a clearer path to tapping fields.

But a conservation group said the agreement appears to reduce local control over industries by allowing state lawmakers to create rules that counties and cities wouldn't be able to exceed with their own ordinances.


Huffington Post Green

Food zones for farmers in danger of coming a cropper


Still hoping … Kate Davidson on her cereal, legume and sorghum farm near Gunnedah yesterday. She says there is scepticism about whether land will be set aside solely for food production. Photo: Paul Matthews

A KEY election pledge by the state government to fence prime farmland off from mining interests is in danger of collapse, with the minerals and gas industries refusing to concede that any part of the state is off limits.

Confidential documents leaked from within the negotiation process show that the farming, resources and environmental groups that are developing the policy for ''food security'' zones are locked in stalemate.

The peak coal seam gas body, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, wrote to the government last month saying it did ''not support blanket 'no go' areas, as such an approach is subjective and is not based on justifiable evidence, scientific assessment of agricultural and conservation values, and nor does it have regard to economic considerations''.

SMH

Coal seam gas standards

GLOUCESTER Basin could be one of the first areas studied as part of efforts to set standards for coal seam gas projects.

Independent federal MP Rob Oakeshott has asked federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to make Gloucester and the Manning Valley ‘‘priorities’’ for the recently set up interim expert scientific committee on coal seam gas.

“There is significant community concern about the potential for coal seam gas wells to contaminate underground water, creeks and rivers throughout the Mid-Coast Water and Hunter-Central Rivers catchment,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“AGL’s coal seam gas wells in the Gloucester Valley were approved by the state government without any consultation with the water supply authority, Mid-Coast Water, with 50,000 downstream water users in the Manning who rely on the catchment for clean drinking water,’’ he said.


Newcastle Herald

Monday, January 30

Barnaby Joyce champions asset sales and CSG in the regions

The LNP’s announcement today to roll out Barnaby Joyce to “pin down” Katter in the regions was welcomed by Katter’s Australian Party State Leader, Aidan McLindon.

Mr McLindon was not surprised to see Barnaby attempting to shore up regional support for the LNP which was eroding rapidly as people become disillusioned with the Liberal takeover, but said the move would backfire.

“Barnaby will run around regional Queensland spruiking Mr Newman, which means he will be trying to sell Newman’s pro-privatisation and pro-CSG positions,” Mr McLindon said.

“Barnaby will be spruiking privatisation of the State’s assets in the lead up to an LNP government power station sell off. He has a fine track record in this area after voting to privatise Telstra in 2005, despite making it very clear to Queensland voters before the election that he would vote against it.”

“You only have to look across the border to see the LNP in NSW who are now selling the Port of Botany and the power stations despite going to an election not 12 months ago promising not to sell any more assets,” Mr McLindon said.
Read More

mysunshinecoast.com.au

Tinkler's coal export terminal rejected by NSW

A proposal by Australian mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler to build a $2.5 billion coal export terminal on the nation's east coast has been rejected by the New South Wales government.

The site proposed by Tinkler is "more suited to handling multi-product, container, general cargo and dry bulk terminal freight," Premier Barry O'Farrell said in a Jan. 28 statement.

Tinkler's plan, through his closely held Hunter Ports Ltd., competed with Port Waratah Coal Services Ltd.'s A$5 billion proposal to expand existing port facilities at Newcastle. Coal exporters in Australia, the biggest exporter of the fuel, are facing bottlenecks as railroads and ports have struggled to cope with increased demand, resulting in regular queues of ships waiting to load.

"The government will continue to build on the existing industry-supported framework for the expansion of coal terminal capacity," O'Farrell said.


SMH

Queensland's cropping laws take effect

Queensland's best agricultural land is officially protected from some forms of mining.

The Strategic Cropping Land legislation came into effect on Monday.

The laws will take away the right to develop new open-cut mines in the strategic cropping land protection zones.

Miners would need to assess the land using eight scientific criteria to determine if it is good cropping land that needs protecting.

Food bowls in parts of the Surat Basin in southern Queensland, and the Emerald and Springsure region in central Queensland would be granted the highest level of protection.


9 News

Katter's candidate for Southern Downs



Katter’s Australian Party candidate for the Southern Downs, Ade Larsen

BOB Katter's Australian Party candidate Ade Larsen has issued a scathing criticism of the two major parties, claiming they have morphed into the "same political beast".

Born and bred on the Southern Downs, Larsen manages his family's cattle and sheep farm and his family is heavily involved in manufacturing and engineering.

He said he was "upset that people don't get representation" and he was aiming to give people a voice.

"Like many people, eight or nine years ago I realised there was something wrong with the major parties," Mr Larsen said.

Topping the list of his concerns is the CSG issue, which Mr Larsen said hadn't been properly addressed by either political party, especially in light of recent evidence pointing to its potential impact on water supplies.

Warwick Daily News

Australians line up to defend land against CSG

The small town of Kerry, located on the Scenic Rim in Queensland's Beaudesert, is a prime food-producing area one hour from Brisbane. The land is now the site of a coal seam gas (CSG) exploration well.

The community hasn't let this happen quietly. The property on which the drilling occurred has also been the site of a significant protest.

A community blockade against foreign-owned CSG company Arrow Energy stopped work on the site for almost 10 days, until the company's trucks broke through by driving over dozens of hats laid down in protest on January 21.

Protesters set up camp on January 12 outside the gates of the drilling platform. Arriving at the drilling site, we were greeted by a convergence of people including local farmers, workers, activists, Occupy groups, environmental organisations, community organisations and the Greens.

Activists from Lock the Gate Alliance and Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic were also represented on the blockade.


Green Left Weekly

Anti-fracking campaign launched in North Carolina as pressure grows for gas drilling



North Carolina environmental advocates launched a campaign this week against the controversial gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," which is still banned under state law.

The move comes the same week President Obama delivered a State of the Union address that called for increased drilling for natural gas. It also comes as the Republican-controlled N.C. legislature is pressing to allow gas development.

On Jan. 25, the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club unveiled "The Fracking Truth" campaign -- including a website called The Daily Frack -- to call critical attention to fracking, a method of drilling that uses chemicals and water to fracture shale rock formations and release natural gas.

"We launched The Daily Frack to help the citizens of North Carolina get a better understanding of what fracking might mean for our communities," said Molly Diggins, chapter director.

Read More

The Institute for Southern Studies

Natural gas sector set up by Obama to be sabotaged?

President Obama spoke of the role natural gas must play in America’s energy future during his State of the Union address last week, but industry insiders fear it’s merely lip service designed to distract from what they consider the administration’s behind-the-scenes plan to sabotage the sector.

“They’re trying to make it more difficult for the industry to survive while the president is standing in front of the country saying we’re going to create jobs through hydraulic fracturing,” said Ken von Schaumburg, former deputy counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama “is talking the game, but you can’t support the industry and then have this aggressive rule-making process going on,” Mr. von Schaumburg said.

Read More

Washington Times

Gladstone fishermen to sue Qld government

Irate commercial fishermen and shop owners have joined forces to sue the Queensland government for more than $20 million.

The group of about 60 people are seeking compensation for businesses losses associated with a fish disease outbreak in Gladstone Harbour.

They are claiming the $70 billion port development at Gladstone Harbour contributed to the outbreak and impacted on their livelihoods.

Gladstone Harbour is being developed to make way for massive liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas projects.

Shine Lawyers partner Rebecca Jancauskas says Gladstone Ports Corporation has failed to comply with conditions set by the state government to compensate affected businesses.


9 News

Saturday, January 28

Staff poaching takes steam out of CSG scrutiny



Farmer Clive Duddy settles in at protest site on the property Glasserton on the Liverpool Plains under threat from gas giant Santos proposing to drill for coal seam gas on the property. Picture: Lorimer Peter Source: News Limited
THE Queensland government's capacity to regulate its burgeoning coal-seam gas industry is being undermined by the loss of its most experienced technical staff to gas companies.

In a new twist to poacher-turned-gamekeeper, the state government's Department of Environment and Resource Management has lost the head of its Liquefied Natural Gas Enforcement Unit, Andrew Brier, to Santos, which is developing the giant Gladstone LNG project in partnership with foreign oil companies.

DERM has lost almost 70 staff to resource companies in the past two years and the departmental head, Jim Reeves, has confirmed that other executives have been approached with job offers by CSG companies.


The Australian

Fracking Industry Support Of F-Word Lacking

NEW YORK (AP) — A different kind of F-word is stirring a linguistic and political debate as controversial as what it defines.

The word is "fracking" — as in hydraulic fracturing, a technique long used by the oil and gas industry to free oil and gas from rock.

It's not in the dictionary, the industry hates it, and President Barack Obama didn't use it in his State of the Union speech — even as he praised federal subsidies for it.

The word sounds nasty, and environmental advocates have been able to use it to generate opposition — and revulsion — to what they say is a nasty process that threatens water supplies.

"It obviously calls to mind other less socially polite terms, and folks have been able to take advantage of that," said Kate Sinding, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who works on drilling issues.

One of the chants at an anti-drilling rally in Albany earlier this month was "No fracking way".


Huffington Post Green

Living in the dusty shadow of coal mining



Farmer Tanya Plant and her daughters, one of whom suffers coughing fits that her doctor says may have "environmental" causes. Picture: Jack Tran Source: The Australian

AUSTRALIA'S resources boom is already generating a lot of dust, noise and fumes, and the amount stirred up is only going to increase, given plans by miners to double coal and iron ore extraction this decade.

Yet state and federal governments are doing surprisingly little to monitor and regulate these impacts on the people living in the shadow of mining and energy projects. While state governments require companies to submit voluminous environmental impact statements, designed to protect flora and fauna, less is being done to protect people.

From the time minerals are dug from the ground and shipped to port in open wagons to the time they leave our shores as exports, governments generally leave it to the companies concerned to monitor the harmful effects of toxic substances on people, and the reporting seems patchy.

Tanya Plant, a Queensland farmer and mother of two, worries about the effect the emissions from New Hope Corporation's coal mine, located about 2km from her home, may be having on her family. Her two-year-old daughter has been having coughing fits and after successive trips to the doctor she has been told the causes may be "environmental".


The Australian

Mining protesters dig deep

AS THE truck carting the drilling rig rolled out the property gate and onto the public road, Kerry landholder Rod Anderson pulled his Akubra from his head and threw it in front of the vehicle's wheels.

"Drive over that," he yelled.

A flurry of hats followed, as well as an Australian flag.

As a crowd of protesters and police watched on, the truck continued along its path, grinding the pile into the dust before disappearing down the road.

Locals believe it is symbolic of the Scenic Rim community's treatment from Arrow Energy.

"I've been standing over by that strainer post for the past bloody 10 days quietly behaving, like all of us locals have," Mr Anderson told the gathering of more than 100 protesters shortly afterwards.

"I've got a little place up the top there - it's only small, might be insignificant to some, but it's my house and it's my home. There are plenty of farmers around here, and no one's listening to us - treating us like there's no one underneath these hats. They don't give a shit. We've had a gutful."

"It's just absolutely mind-boggling that good citizens and good farmers and good people with no criminal history, just blokes off the street who are trying to do the right thing for this country, are forced to come down here and bark at cars like mongrel dogs."


QCL

After Well Fire in Pearsall, Questions Remain

What happened last week at a disposal well outside of Pearsall, Texas? An explosion rocked the site early Thursday evening — about 50 miles southwest of San Antonio in the Eagle Ford Shale — blowing the lid off a storage tank and injuring three. A fire burned for over an hour as the all-volunteer Pearsall Fire Department (and three other nearby departments) battled the flames with twelve trucks and 33 firefighters.

The explosion likely started when workers there were welding near storage tanks, a decision that has many in the industry scratching their heads. The accident is now under federal investigation.

But there’s still much we don’t know.


State Impact

Fracking moratorium approved in House committee



A House committee has approved a three-year moratorium on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from shale deposits.

The original version of the bill would have banned “fracking,” the common name for the surface drilling method that uses a combination of water and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale. Under the proposal, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources would have been prohibited from issuing a permit to extract natural gas.

Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, chairs the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources that approved the bill. He said one reason for imposing a moratorium rather than an outright ban was to allow time for the Agency of Natural Resources to revise its regulations on underground injection wells and permit the Environmental Protection Agency to complete studies on the potential harms of the practice.


VTDigger.com

Coal seam gas seminar to be held in Windsor


Organisations and residents in several NSW towns have held protest rallies against proposed goal seam gas mining

THE Hawkesbury Envrionmental Network has gone on the offensive against coal seam gas mining, planning an information session for Hawkesbury landholders.

The network is hosting a presentation by the Environmental Defenders Office on the legal processes applying to the granting of exploration and mining licences and the rights of landholders if licences and mining leases are approved on private land in the Hawkesbury.

Network spokeswoman Zhan Patterson said it is essential that landholders are aware of their rights and the possible environmental and farming impacts if coal seam gas mining is approved on Hawkesbury properties.

“Last year’s campaign by the Putty Community Association, on the outskirts of the Hawkesbury region, has highlighted the lack of community consultation that can occur before a mining company begins its drilling operations,” she said.


Rouse Hill Times

Innovation key to reviving manufacturing


Erich Hofmann says despite the high dollar, the manufacturing sector can compete internationally by targeting top-end tech-heavy products Source: The Australian
HERE are three scenes this week from the Australian manufacturing sector _ in Melbourne, in the Queensland city of Gladstone, and in Perth.

In the industrial western suburbs of Melbourne at Altona, close to Port Phillip Bay and within walking distance of Julia Gillard's house, 350 workers are told that they've only got 10 weeks' work left. The reason given: the strong Australian dollar means it's no longer economical for the Japanese car manufacturer to organise its global operations so that Australian-made cars can be sold in the Middle East.

Then try the port city of Gladstone in central Queensland, where workers look out over a whole pile of 42-inch steel pipes freshly arrived from China. They will be used to make a pipeline that transports coal-seam gas from southwestern Queensland to the port town, where three plants at $15 billion each are being constructed to make the gas into a liquid form for export. It's the biggest single industrial project in Australia at the moment, but almost certainly the steel pipes sitting on the Gladstone wharves are made from iron ore exported from Australia which is fired up in blast furnaces using coal exported from Australia.


The Australian

Friday, January 27

Like Fracking? You'll Love 'Super Fracking'




Few energy industry practices have sparked more controversy than hydraulic fracking. First, wells are drilled horizontally below the surface, allowing a single bore or pathway to reach vertical pockets of oil and natural gas trapped between formations of shale and other rock. Then high-pressure jets of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the ground to create fissures through the rock so oil can seep out and be retrieved. Regulators, environmentalists, and academics are studying whether the practice can damage the environment.

Undeterred, oil services companies including Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are continuing their quest to devise ways to create longer, deeper cracks in the earth to release more oil and gas. These companies are no longer content to frack—they want to super frack.

High crude prices and newly accessible oil and gas embedded in shale rock in North America are driving the wave of innovation. The more thoroughly that petroleum-saturated rock is cracked, the more oil and gas is freed to flow from each well, raising the efficiency—and profit—of the expensive process. For example, the growing use of movable sleeves, a tubelike device with holes that fits inside a well bore, lets drillers target multiple spots to dislodge entrapped oil.

This technique can reduce the $2.5 million startup cost of a fracking well near the Canadian border by up to two-thirds, according to a recent analysis by JPMorgan Chase. Multiply such savings by hundreds of wells added in that area each year, and you start to understand why the industry is so eager to hone the process. “I want to crack the rock across as much of the reservoir as I can,” says David A. Pursell, a former fracking engineer who’s now an analyst at Tudor Pickering Holt in Houston. “That’s the Holy Grail.”

Baker Hughes has set its sights on creating “super cracks,” a method of blasting deeper into dense rock to create wider channels. The aim of the technology, branded as DirectConnect, is to better concentrate the pressure of fracking fluids to reach oil or gas farther from the well bore, which existing methods fail to do as effectively.

Read More

Bloomberg Business Week

Media Release: Interim committee to advise on coal seam gas and large coal mining

Media Release

27 January 2012

Environment and Water Minister Tony Burke has appointed an interim committee of experts to provide independent scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining.

The interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee has been formed pending formal establishment of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development by legislative amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Committee is part of a new science-based framework announced by the Gillard Government in November last year, to provide more certainty for regional communities around coal seam gas and large coal mining developments, jobs and investment and the protection of water resources.

The Government is investing $150 million to establish the new Independent Expert Scientific Committee that will provide scientific advice to governments and relevant coal seam gas and large coal mining projects; and commission and fund water resource assessment for priority regions.

The interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee has had an initial meeting which endorsed the Terms of Reference and commenced development of a work plan.

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

American-Made Energy -- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

President Obama's State of the Union address could perhaps best be described as the good, the bad and the ugly.

Obama wants to generate American-made energy and set a clean energy standard that encourages investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Good. But Obama continues to tout extreme fossil fuel extraction as a solution to our energy needs. Bad. And it's still business as usual with the highly subsidized oil, gas and coal industries continuing to externalize their costs on the American people. Ugly.

In his address, Obama focused on the need for "American-made energy." He first mentioned that he will be directing his administration "to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources." Realizing that this resource only contains two percent of the world's oil reserves, he quickly added that, "This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. A strategy that's cleaner, cheaper and full of new jobs."


Huffington Post Green

Alan Jones speaks with Tony Abbott



Alan Jones is joined by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Australia Day outside broadcast.

Click Here to Listen to Audio

Environment issues key in the Queensland election

Media Release
The Wilderness Society (Queensland) Inc.
25 January 2012

Environmental issues such as the retention of Wild River protections, finalising a World Heritage nomination for Cape York Peninsula, and keeping native woodlands and forests safe from land clearing will be key focuses in the Queensland election, the Wilderness Society said today.

In announcing the date for the next election this morning, Premier Anna Bligh flagged that jobs, the environment and education would be her three main priorities for the campaign and for her policy platform. Wild Rivers and other environmental issues have already been a significant focus in the electorate of Ashgrove, where Campbell Newman is seeking election as an MP to become Premier.

Dr Tim Seelig, Campaign Manager for the Wilderness Society in Queensland said “This election represents a major crossroads for environmental protection in this state.”

“Will Queensland continue on a progressive path with critical environmental laws and policies retained and expanded, or will we be taken backwards to the bad old days of river destruction, broadscale forest clearing, and a failure to protect unique wild places such as Cape York Peninsula?”


The Wilderness Society

Protesters fired up




MAKING A STAND: Protesters speak against Arrow Energy’s coal seam gas drilling

WHILE Premier Anna Bligh is encouraging the growth of the coal seam gas industry, Scenic Rim protesters are keen to see it grind to a halt.

On Monday Ms Bligh welcomed more investment in the CSG/LNG industry that she said would boost jobs in Queensland.

Chinese oil giant Sinopec announced that it would increase its shareholding in Australia Pacific LNG from 15% to 25%.

Ms Bligh said the deal further cemented Queensland as a major international player in CSG to LNG projects and all Queenslanders would benefit.


Ipswich Advertiser

Moree sign attracts attention



Penny Blatchford, Bellata/Gurley Action Group Against Gas, with children Chloe, Thomas and Jeremy, and the sign.

Jacquelyn Lewis, or Jaya Chela Drolma, as she is referred to when on stage, has made a short film raising concerns about coal seam gas mining.

Her video is shot just outside of Moree and shows footage of a sign that says ‘no gas mining on our prime ag land’.
 
The sign which was erected by Penny Blatchford and members of the Bellata/Gurley CSG Action Group has been an iconic site for travellers who commute between Narrabri and Moree.
 
“We are really pleased that we have got some media attention around our sign,” Mrs Blatchford said. “Hopefully our message will keep reaching out to more and more people,” she said.
 
Ms Lewis who is currently commuting between Queensland and Victoria stopped at the sign and decided to make a two-minute film raising her concerns about CSG mining on prime agricultural land.


Moree Champion

Abbott clarifies CSG mining comments

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott yesterday insisted that he supported farmers' desire to protect their land after earlier saying that coal seam gas extraction was not as "devastating" to the countryside as open-cut mining.

Mr Abbott, who had previously sided with farmers opposing expansion of the gas industry on their land, said on Wednesday that some farmers welcomed it and it was not as disruptive to the land as mining, The Australian Financial Review reports.
 
The comments triggered a backlash from independent rural MPs Tony Windsor and Bob Katter, who accused Mr Abbott of not understanding the gas extraction process.
 
Mr Abbott, while visiting Tamworth in northern NSW on Wednesday, said during an ABC interview that there was a big difference between coal seam gas extraction and open-cut mining. "Open-cut mining is a devastating thing. Coal seam gas extraction, by contrast, involves relatively little disturbance of the surface, a relatively modest area for the plant itself, some roads and fences," he said.
 
He said there were legitimate concerns about the impact on the water table but some farmers were happy for gas extraction to occur because it often led to road upgrades as part of the process.

The Land

Greens urge gas limits for hospital

The Canberra Hospital's energy future could be heavily reliant on the bitterly divisive coal seam gas industry, according to the ACT Greens.

The cross-bench party has accused the ACT Government of basing its draft plan to power the redeveloped $800 million health facility too heavily on natural gas.

Greens' energy spokesman Shane Rattenbury say he is worried that the hospital could eventually be powered by gas extracted using the controversial ''fracking'' technique.

The Greens are demanding a Government commitment that coal seam gas will not be used at the built-in power plant planned for the hospital.

But Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says that no decisions have been made on the final make-up of the energy mix for the hospital.

The Government's gas supplier, ActewAGL, which is half-owned by the territory taxpayer, said yesterday that it had no interests in coal seem gas wells or exploration.


Canberra Times

Obama Takes To Nevada And Colorado To Talk Energy, Expanding Drilling In The Gulf

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will double down on his "all-of-the-above" energy strategy on Thursday when he announces the Interior Department's new lease sale to make roughly 38 million acres available for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement comes as part of the president's post-State of the Union trip through Las Vegas and Denver, where he'll expand on the energy blueprint he laid out in his address on Tuesday night. In his State of the Union speech, he vowed "responsible development" of domestic oil and natural gas.

Speaking at a UPS refueling facility in Las Vegas, the president will detail the terms of the June 20 lease from Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which could yield up to 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.


Huffington Post Green

Thursday, January 26

CSG now threatens the Hawkesbury-meeting at Windsor: 16.02.12

A Coal Seam Gas Information Session will be held in the Tebbutt Room, Deerubbin Centre, Windsor on Thursday 16 February at 7.00pm.

In partnership with the Putty Community Association, Hawkesbury Environment Network (HEN) and the Environmental Defender's Office are presenting information about legal processes applying to the granting of exploration and mining licences on private land in the Hawkesbury.

Licences for coal seam gas test drilling have already been granted for about one quarter of NSW, including the entire Sydney area. The information session will provide landowners with information about their rights and environmental and farming impacts if coal seam gas mining is approved on their property.

The information session is free and open to all.

Contact HEN (Hawkesbury Environment Network) for further information by email
info@hen.org.au, or phone the Secretary, Glenn on (02) 45 741 430 or mob. 0417 675 193.

See HEN website at
www.hen.org.au for further details.

Fuelling Ireland’s public health problems




Dr Elizabeth Cullen of the Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association believes public health dictates that we should not allow the practice of fracking for fossil fuels to take hold in Ireland.

The protection of public health demands constant vigilance and a willingness to learn about new challenges. Along with climate change, our demand for fossil fuels is now posing a new public health problem. The Lough Allen and Clare basin districts (including counties Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon, Fermanagh, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Monaghan, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry) now face the problem of fracking.

Fracking is a method of obtaining fossil fuels by injecting fluid at very high pressures into the underground shale rock. This process creates new fractures and thereby allows access to the fossil fuels held in pores in the rock. The fractures are kept open by introducing a fluid, called a proppant, into the crevices.

The proppant is primarily water and sand, but also includes chemicals. High risks of hazardous chemical contamination of ground water is the main but not sole reason why Genon Jenson, director of the Health and Environmental Alliance, calls fracking the next big environmental health challenge.


Irish Medical Times

President Obama's energy plan panned by both sides

As his re-election bid nears, President Obama is pitching a made-in-America energy agenda that calls for more offshore oil drilling, natural gas development and clean-energy investments.
But he's not winning kudos from either the oil industry or environmental groups.
"There's nothing new here," says Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, referring to Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday. She said the "more than 75% of potential offshore oil and gas resources" that Obama said he would open are already being developed.
"This is just a smoke screen," she said, arguing he's trying to sound in favor of oil exploration while seeking to raise taxes on the oil industry. Dougher says the industry doesn't get subsidies, but Obama said the U.S. has "subsidized oil companies for a century" and called for ending such "taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable."


USA Today

Vermont lawmakers weigh 3-year moratorium on fracking before it begins in state

MONTPELIER, Vt. — With northwestern Vermont's Lake Champlain Islands seen as a possible site for natural gas exploration, state lawmakers appear likely to pass a three-year moratorium on the use of a hotly debated gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

With fracking, a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals is forced into the ground to fracture layers of shale and allow the gas to be released. Environmentalists say the chemicals are a threat to the environment and public health. They also complain that drilling companies haven't disclosed what chemicals are being used.

And wastewater from the process is injected into the ground, a practice that has been tied to earthquakes, including one near Youngstown, Ohio, on Dec. 31.

The gas drilling industry contends its processes are safe and that it has been posting information about the used chemicals on a year-old website called fracfocus.org.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council says the web postings are voluntary and incomplete, and Dan Whitten, a spokesman for America's Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group, said some companies regard their mix of chemicals as proprietary.


therepublic.com

Forum: Undermining Our Food Bowls: How Csg Is Threatening Future Food

Forum: Undermining Our Food Bowls: How Csg Is Threatening Future Food

With Prue Green – Executive Officer, Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG), Rosemary Nankivell - CSG Committee Chairperson, CCAG, organiser of recent successful blockade against Santos and Helen Redmond – Doctors for the Environment.

Hear about the fight against mining and coal seam gas from leading activists in the prime agricultural region of the Liverpool Plains. More than half of NSW is covered by titles for coal, mineral or CSG exploration or production but the question of what this means for food production is yet to be answered.

Cost of $10/$15 includes a glass of NSW organic wine and finger food. Monday, 6 February, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney (near Town Hall station)

RSVP for catering purposes to info@sydneyfoodfairness.org.au phone 0410 145 473 or on Facebook; pickup tickets at door. The forum will be preceded by Sydney Food Fairness Alliance AGM from 5pm, which everyone is welcome to attend.
 
Event date:
Mon, 06/02/2012
Email:
Website:
Phone:
0410 145 473

Walking for a Future




A 29 day walk of almost 300km along the proposed gas pipeline and coal rail corridor.


Americans protest fracking as Obama cheers for it


Opponents of hydraulic fracturing in New York state attend a news conference and rally against hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

It took years, but opponents of fracking, the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of natural gas, are finally getting their point across. President Barack Obama, however, still isn’t convinced of the cons.

What began as a grass roots campaign to examine the dangers of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing has over the last few years spawned a massive movement of critics who are committing countless hours towards find a way to abolish fracking. When American energy companies drill deep into the Earth’s surface to free up natural gas, groups are able to mine a natural resource without dangerous offshore production facilities or by cutting deals with foreign nations. The trade-off to many, however, is simply not worth it.

Yes, fracking can provide massive amounts of methane gas to be used domestically; but it also produces millions of gallons of wastewater that can contain elements that are known carcinogens. Despite fracking freeing up cancerous agents and releasing them into the environment, there are roughly 400,000 of these wells across America. As advocates against the excavation process raise questions regarding its safety and fight to free their cities and towns from these wells, opposition is growing, and fracking, for now, seems to be slowing.

Read More

RT.com


State of the Union = What the FRACK?! Obama EXPANDS ' fracking ' operations



Full website post here (along with the full state of the union address ):
http://sincedutch.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/1252012-state-of-the-union-address...


This article is a quick read and a MUST SEE ! The newly proposed (expanded) areas for " frac well drilling / injection " are clearly along the same lines as the edge of the North American Craton.

We have seen several earthquakes at MAN MADE sites -- such as drilling wells, fracking operations, quarries, and nuclear power plants. During this time of GLOBAL earthquake unrest --- I think it is unwise to spread this man made induced seismicity problem any further.

Armidale Residents Shocked By Coal Seam Gas Damage In The Pilliga


We witnessed produced water from the coal seam being discharged continuously into a local creek system after treatment with reverse osmosis. "

Armidale residents who travelled to the Pilliga Forest this weekend were shocked to the see the damage that has already been caused to the environment there by coal seam gas exploration.

A large group of people from Armidale made the trek out to the Pilliga Forest on Saturday and stayed until Monday lunch time, exploring some of the beautiful sites in the area and also inspecting areas affected by coal seam gas mining.

The group was met by local Pilliga landholder, Tony Pickard, who led them on a tour of many of the coal seam gas wells and evaporation ponds in the forest.

“The trip out to the Pilliga really opened our eyes to the impact that coal seam gas mining has on bushland areas and on water resources” said Kate Boyd, Armidale resident and member of the Armidale Branch of the National Parks Association.

Read More

www.stoppilligacoalseamgas.com.au

Ewart: Communication uncertainty plagues fracturing debate

As provincial authorities continue to investigate the blowout of an oil well in central Alberta that's been linked to a nearby hydraulic fracturing operation, the incident appears to have been another case of bad communication.

These days "communication" is a buzzword in both the scientific examination of fracturing and the contentious public debate over the practice.

The word appears prominently in a bulletin issued by the Energy Resources Conservation Board this week. The one-page document doesn't mention the Jan. 13 blowout near Innis-fail, but it does offer a few "reminders" for companies conducting fracking in Alberta.

The ERCB said the timing of the bulletin and the blowout are a coincidence. Regardless, both are telling communication.


The Calgary Herald