Wednesday, February 29

Stop CSG Sydney Monthly Community Meeting

Regular meeting of residents concerned about CSG in St Peters and the rest of Australia. All welcome:

When:       Sunday, April 1, 2012

Time:        4.00pm unti 6.00pm

Where:     St Peters Town Hall, 39 Unwins Bridge Road, Sydenham
 
Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas

Behind the seams: Bob Katter & Larissa Waters sing from same song sheet

Much has been made of what at first glance seems a strange alliance between The Greens and Bob Katter’s Australian Party around the issue of coal seam gas. For an interesting compare and contrast exercise, check out the following two interviews side by side.

FAQ Research interviewed Bob Katter MP, federal Member for Kennedy and leader of Katter’s Australian Party and Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters at the February 20 Jondaryan Big Day Out protest against coal seam gas and coal mining on prime agricultural land. (Both interviews also feature on the Behind the Seams group blog The Wellhead.)

In the current Queensland state election campaign, the Greens’ policy complements that of Bob Katter’s Australian Party, calling for landholders’ rights and the protection of agricultural land. And so, it seems, do their soundbites.


by Dr Mark Bahnisch from FAQ Research
Behind The Seams Blog:  The Wellhead

Coal seam gas concerns grow in the US



TONY EASTLEY: While much of the economy in the United States is emerging slowly from the long recession, one area of activity - the energy sector - is booming.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking to extract coal seam gas is creating tens of thousands of jobs and fuelling America's dreams of energy self sufficiency, but some fear the price of fracking is already too high.

North America correspondent Michael Brissenden reports from a once sleepy town in North Dakota.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Just over 18 months ago Watford City had a population of just over 1,000 people and like much of the rest of this largely rural border state, this town was continuing a long slow decline.

Today the population is 6,500 and growing fast. Even Watford City's development chief Gene Veeder is stunned.


Tony Eastley
ABC AM

The Middle Ground in CSG

Mention the words coal seam gas and you hear a range of reactions and opinions.

But there's no denying the fact that there is massive expansion underway in the sector here in Queensland.

Right throughout the Surat Basin signs to drilling rigs dot the highways, truck after truck cart the pipes that will eventually transport gas to Gladstone and hundreds of workers are calling dongas home in camp facilities.

And while you hear a lot from the extreme ends of the CSG debate, it's landholders that are often caught in the middle with plenty of questions of their own.

Simon Drury and his family own and operate Condabri feedlot, on the Condamine River between Condamine and Miles.


612 ABC Brisbane

QGC 'busy' attracting apprentices


QGC and BUSY At Work have formed a partnership to attract apprentices and trainees to businesses in regional Queensland outside the coal seam gas industry.

Under the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program, BUSY At Work will match employers in the Western Downs, North Burnett, Banana and Gladstone local government areas with apprentices and trainees.
The program aims to help 200 individuals start an apprenticeship or traineeship over the next three years.
BUSY At Work is a leading Queensland not-for-profit organisation with expertise in community-based employment and training.
QGC is establishing Queensland Curtis LNG, one of Australia's largest capital infrastructure projects, to turn the state's world-class coal seam gas reserves into liquefied natural gas.


Toowoomba Chronicle

Arrow Energy: Application Notice (Public Notice)

(a) Notice is given that CH4 Pty Ltd (092 501 016), Arrow CSG (ATP364) Pty Ltd (092 970 557), and AGL Energy Ltd (115 061 375)

has lodged an application under section 310B of the Environmental Protection Act 1994

(b) The application is for a Level 1 Environmental Authority to supersede the existing Level 2 Environmental Authority

PEN200008007 to allow for the advanced construction and operation of coal seam gas exploration and appraisal wells and

associated infrastructure. The application involves the following level 1 chapter 5A activities listed under Schedule 5 of the Environmntal Protection Regulation 2008:

A petroleum activity carried out on a site containing a high hazard dam or a significant hazard dam.

A petroleum activity that includes one or more chapter 4 activities for which an environmental aggregate score is stated, specifically:

ERA 8(1)(c) – Chemical Storage – storing 10m
3 to 500m3 of chemicals of class C1 or C2 combustible liquids under AS1940

or dangerous goods class 3.

ERA 15 – Fuel Burning - using fuel burning equipment that is capable of burning at least 500kg of fuel in an hour.

ERA 56 – Regulated Waste Storage – operating a facility for receiving and storing

Regulated waste other than tyres for more than 24 hours (specifically a CSG water dam).

Arrow Energy

Export LNG in Australia:Map




Gas Today.com.au

Congress Fracks America

Many residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and across the South who thought they’d hit the lottery by signing natural gas drilling leases have watched their drinking water turn noxious: slick, brown, foamy, flammable.

All along, the industry has claimed that natural gas fracking is safe and does not pollute drinking water. But in December, for the first time, federal regulators scientifically linked fracking to the contamination of an aquifer.

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found numerous fracking chemicals in groundwater in the rural ranching community of Pavillion, Wyoming. Cancer-causing benzene was found at 50 times safe levels, along with toxic metals, diesel fuel and other hazardous chemicals.


The Ozsarks Sentinel

Joe Nocera Claims Fracking Raises U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Almost 20 Percent


In his column today, which argues for responsible fracking, telling readers that there can be enormous gains from using cleaner techniques in fracking. In discussing the importance of reducing fracking related methane emissions Nocera comments:

"How big a difference will it make to the environment if industry can minimize methane leaks?

A lot. ... Suppose, for instance, the current leak rate turns out to be 4 percent. Suppose we then reduce it in half. That would mean an immediate reduction in overall U.S. greenhouse gases by — are you sitting down for this? — 9 percent. If the leaks are reduced to 1 percent, the decrease in greenhouse gases jumps to 14 percent."


Business Insider

Rally NSW Government : Thusday 15th March, 2012

Stop Coal Seam Gas! 


When:    Thursday 15th March, 2012
Time:     4.00pm

Rally when the NSW Parliament debates our 20,000-strong Coal Seam Gas petition demanding a moratorium on all CSG activity, a royal commission into all aspects of CSG and a ban on fracking.

Rally because 5,000 wells are being planned for NSW, on farmlands, in water catchement areas, in State Forests, next to dams. It's time to stop this dangerous industry before more harm is done. Join speakers at a rally outside Parliament or help pack out the gallery.

Bring your sign, your shirt, your voice! NSW State Parliament, Macquarie St.

Supported by nogasmininginsydney.com, stop-csg-illawarra.org and lockthegate.org.au.
Phone: Paul 0410 629 088 Jess 0416 232 349

Civic leader says mining saved Gloucester

A Gloucester shire councillor says in his view, mining is good for the local economy.

Many in the community say after the collapse of the local timber and dairy industry mining has stopped Gloucester turning into a 'ghost town'.

But others say coal mining and coal seam gas drilling pose significant environmental risks, and the area should become an eco-tourism destination.

But councillor Jim Henderson says mining is the lifeblood of the local economy.

"I've had the same views in relation to our resource industries for a long time.

"If we hadn't had coal mining here in the last 15 years this town would have died.


ABC News

Editor's Note:   "Mining is the lifeblood of the local economy"  You're kidding me right? 

Salt storage the solution: Adavale Basin



Major onshore gas exporting regions located in developed countries have a network of underground gas storage facilities, with capacity to both store gas and re-deliver gas into the grid in order to provide the necessary security of supply.

The development of these facilities will be an important development for the natural gas industry in Queensland, with the ramp-up of the many proposed CSG-to-LNG projects in the state.


Gas Today

Miners told to toe line on coastal exploration

Chief Minister Paul Henderson says if mining companies are allowed to explore in Northern Territory waters, they will have to meet strict environmental requirements.

The Amateur Fishermen's Association and the Marine Conservation Society are both concerned about applications from resources companies to explore for oil in marine fishing areas.
Mr Henderson says companies can apply for licences but the Government will not necessarily give them approval.

"We can't have a world where people can't request to do something," he said.

"I have said that any seabed mining would have to go through environmental requirements that would be so high, I don't know why companies are looking to do this."


ABC News

Stealing the Hunter's beauty robs it of a future




"Coal seam gas operators will be gone inside 50 years and no one knows how big a mess they will leave" ... Bruce Tyrell. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Over the past 150 years, the Tyrrell family have been winemakers, property owners and community members of the Hunter Valley wine region. We have not only been part of making this area one of the world's iconic premium wine producers but in the early 1960s, my father began wine tourism in earnest. Hunter Valley semillon is regarded as one of the three unique Australian wines.

Over the decades we have seen off a number of threats to our industry. Today we are faced with a new one: coal seam gas. Like most of the Hunter Valley vignerons, I am not anti-mining but, above all, I believe firmly in the need for food and water security. While so many questions hang over the potential impact of coal seam gas mining on soil quality, on aquifers, disposal of high-salt waste water, visual pollution, methane emission and potential sliding of property values, coal seam gas cannot be allowed in our area.

Read More

SMH

WA Dairy rejects 'generous' sale offer

One of Western Australia's biggest dairy farms has rejected an offer to sell to an unknown buyer.

The offer comes after another large WA dairy was sold to Chinese investors earlier this year.
Ross Woodhouse who farms at Scott River in the state's south west says he sees the interest as a good thing for the dairy industry.

"It's along the same lines as the mining model. FMG have sold a big portion of their business to a chinese interest. We don't get any hue and cry about that from the general public," he said.

"The dairy industry is craving capital injection and the potential to double potential to double production in Western Australia is there and all it needs is capital."

Mr Woodhouse says he isn't sure where the offer has come from as it was made through a real estate agent, but it does come after a group of Chinese investors visited his farm late last year.


ABC Rural

Coal Seam Gas Exploration for Bass Coast?


Media Release

Leichhardt Resources Pty Ltd lodged an application for an exploration licence in Bass Coast with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) last week.

Bass Coast Shire Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Allan Bawden, said Council was informed the company wanted to explore for Coal Bed Methane, better known as Coal Seam Gas, and Brown or Black Coal.

“We have been in contact with DPI since last year, working to raise awareness of the issue of Coal Seam Gas,” said Mr Bawden.

“In fact, staff are currently in discussions with the Department about setting up a system to ensure that we are notified as soon as any application is lodged. That system has not been finalised, but we are very pleased that DPI provided us with information about this particular application.  There is only limited information available at this stage, but we do know area covered by the licence runs from South of Wonthaggi through to Pound Creek and into South Gippsland. It also includes an area north of the Highway (refer map - PDF 334kb).

Read More

Bass Coast

Bimblebox battle strikes a chord




A FILM depicting the ongoing battle to save a nature reserve near Alpha is the subject of an internationally made documentary selected for the Byron Bay International Film Festival.

The film, Bimblebox, follows the story of Alpha resident Paola Cassoni.

It tells of Ms Cassoni's two-year fight to prevent the 8000ha Bimblebox Nature Refuge - which she co-owns - from being swallowed by Clive Palmer's proposed China First coal mine.
Directed by US-based filmmaker Michael O'Connell, the movie placed Ms Cassoni's story in the wider context of massive coal and coal seam-gas expansion in Australia and its impacts on farm land, communities and the environment.

"I am very proud to be the catalyst for this documentary and have my story told to the public," Ms Cassoni said.


"It's not just about a fight to save a refuge in rural Queensland."
Paola Cassoni



Central Queensland News

North Dakota fracking boom: the cost is yet to come




I came face to face with the North Dakota oil boom after about an hour of waiting at the airport in Minot for a taxi.

There is clearly a crucial shortage of willing taxi drivers and the one that eventually turned up appeared to be a few beavers short of his hunting quota as they might say up here. It must have been about minus 30 degrees Celsius but our man was wearing shorts and runners and seemed not to notice the weather at all as he got out to jimmy open the trunk of his minivan so we could load our cases of TV gear into the back
.
'You shootin' porn?' he said when he saw the camera.

We tried to explain that we'd come to North Dakota to shoot a story for Foreign Correspondent on the fracking business and the crazy oil rush that's turning the place upside down but he wasn't interested in that or anything else for that matter and refused to engage in any more small talk of any kind on the ride into town to the Best Western hotel - the only place that had any rooms.


The Dum

Push for CSG legislation goes to water




Bruce Tyrell at his winery in the NSW Hunter Valley, is threatening to apply 'Rule .303' to coal-seam gas explorere. Picture: Nikki Short Source: The Australian

THE push for a direct commonwealth takeover of coal-seam gas exploration and mining approvals that threaten water supplies is doomed to failure after two separate bills were rejected by powerful parliamentary committees.
A Senate committee found a Greens bill to toughen environmental laws went too far because it singled out the mining industry and cut across other state and federal negotiations on water.

A house committee recommended independent Tony Windsor's original bill "not be passed at this time" after a deal was done as part of the mining tax negotiations to standardise state laws and establish an expert scientific committee to review the CSG industry's impact on water.

The call for increased federal oversight of the CSG industry has been in response to rising public concern about the potential environmental impact of CSG exploration.

Read More

The Australian

Why Australia needs no new coal or gas baseload…

Origin Energy CEO Grant King says falling demand and the push to renewables means there will be no requirement for new baseload power stations – either coal or gas – until the end of the decade.

And in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with RenewEconomy, King says that if the country is serious about reducing emissions, then its next choice of baseload energy will likely be hydro – from Papua New Guinea.

“If we really do want to decarbonise our fuel, then when the time does come to build baseload power stations we probably don’t want to build coal or gas ones,” he said
In the interview, King discusses why the renewable energy target could be problematic: “I know there are others that are saying something is wrong with the system and nothing is being built, but nothing is being built because the market is long RECs.”


Renew Economy

Greens and Family First battle

CANDIDATES for the Greens and Family First will be contesting the other three parties at the State election next month.

Michael Kane from Toowoomba is standing for the Greens and said his plans for the region involved putting a stop to the prospect of coal mining and coal seam gas.

"I want to put a moratorium on CSG and new coal mines that affect our agricultural land," Mr Kane said.

He currently lives in Brisbane, working as the Greens State Election co-ordinator but said he would move back home on the Downs if elected.

"Just try and keep me away," he said.


Warwick Daily News

The death of peak oil

Here’s another structural transformation to add to all the others that you have to get your head around: it’s the transformation of global energy markets as a result of shale oil and gas.

We’ve already got the digital revolution and the switch from consumption to savings after the GFC, not to mention the rise of China and India. Now we have the death of peak oil.

For years we have assumed that fossil fuel reserves were running out, that peak oil production had occurred some time ago and that it was only a matter of time before the oil price rose to such heights that energy-dependent economies would be crushed, starting with the United States.

In a way these assumptions have helped underpin the movement against global warming (that is, we’ll have to give up oil anyway since it’s running out, so we might as well make the best of a bad lot and embrace electric cars and wind farms and save the planet from climate change while we’re at it).

Read More 

Business Spectator

A fracking PR nightmare

It’s too late for more words in the coal seam gas debate.

Recent comments by coal seam gas industry leaders ranging from Total’s head of exploration Yves-Louis Darricarrere to former Santos chief executive John Ellice Flint that the industry has failed to convince Australians of the force of its arguments are in many ways true.

Newspoll research showing that two-thirds of Australian voters are opposed to CSG, or undecided, further validates their concerns.

These industry leaders are calling for better and more communication and information.

Read More 

Business Spectator

Exoma Contracts Ausdrill for Galilee Basin Drilling



Exoma Energy Limited said it has contracted Ausdrill Limited  to provide a drill rig and drilling services for the Galilee Joint Venture’s significant 2012 exploration program.

The rig, operated by Ausdrill subsidiary Energy Drilling Australia, will operate throughout 2012 in the Galilee Basin, Queensland in each of the Joint Venture’s five permit areas.

The 2012 drilling program, planned to commence in April, will define future development priorities for the Joint Venture’s coal seam gas, conventional oil and shale oil & gas plays identified in the initial exploration program in 2011.

Exoma Chairman Brian Barker said: “The 2012 exploration program will build on the successes of 2011. The joint venture has made discoveries in each of its three resource plays; CSG at Wonganella-1, Oil at Katherine-1 and Shale oil and gas in ATP 999. In 2012 we hope to consolidate these results and set the base to start booking reserves“.

The 2011 exploration program has presented Exoma and its JV partner CNOOC with a large number of drill target options that must now be prioritised due in part to the lack of suitable drilling rigs presently available.


LNG World News



Fact-Finding Mission For Gunnedah Shire Council

Six Gunnedah Shire councillors and staff will head to Queensland tomorrow as part of a coal seam gas information tour.

The group aims to take a first-hand look at the impacts of CSG operations in the Sunshine state, before expansions take place within the Gunnedah region.

Click Here to Go To Video

NBN News

Tuesday, February 28

Queensland coal miner New Hope Corp in potential takeover talks still

New Hope Corporation said Tuesday that it continued its talks with an undisclosed number of third parties wanting to acquire the Queensland-based thermal coal miner, after inviting takeover interest last October.

Some of the interested third parties, including a number of Indian companies, had carried out due diligence into New Hope over the last three months, the company said.

"New Hope remains in discussion with those third parties, and those discussions remain confidential and incomplete. There is no certainty that a suitable proposal will be recommended by the board of New Hope," the company said in its report for the quarter ended January 31.

The Ipswich-based company invited takeover offers in October last year after receiving unsolicited approaches from third parties.

New Hope is one of the largest standalone coal companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and its stock market value Tuesday was A$4.7 billion ($5 billion) based on its share price of A$5.70/share and its 830 million issued shares.

Platts

Queensland Green's CSG bill fails to fire

A parliamentary committee has given the thumbs-down to a Greens bill that would allow the federal government to veto coal seam gas (CSG) mining operations assessed as likely to harm water quality.

The bill was opposed by farmers and miners.

The Senate's Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee concluded that existing commonwealth and state initiatives rendered the bill duplicative and unnecessary.

The legislation - the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia's Water Resources) Bill 2011 - was introduced as a private bill by Australian Greens senator Larissa Waters.

In a dissenting report, she said surface and ancient groundwater systems were under threat from significant and potentially irreversible impacts from mining across Australia.

The Brisbane Times

The Future of Gloucester

ABC Mid North Coast looks at the future of Gloucester as mining is introduced.

The scenic town of Gloucester is at a crossroads. It's one of the state's most idyllic tree change destinations for retirees. But it's also a region with potential riches underground.

There is already a small mine at Stratford but there is a proposal to build a much bigger open cut coal mine just a few kilometres out of town.

In addition, AGL has approval to build up to 110 coal seam gas wells, with the possibility of many more.

So is this new frontier a boon for the local economy or an environmental eyesore waiting to happen?
The answer depends on who you talk to.

Read More

ABC Mid North Coast NSW

Ausdrill wins coal seam gas drilling contract from Exoma Energy

Ausdrill (ASX: ASL) has been awarded a A$13 million contract to carry out coal seam gas (CSG) drilling services for Exoma Energy (ASX:EXE) in the Galilee Basin, Queensland.

The company has been actively pursuing opportunities in the CSG sector, having invested in new rigs and specialty equipment and the award to its subsidiary Energy Drilling Australia is testament to that effort.

Under the contract from Exoma, EDA will provide a drill rig and drilling services for 12 months with an option to extend for another 12 months.

Energy Drilling Australia had in June 2011 won a 6 month contract from Santos (ASX:STO) for the provision of CSG production and exploration drilling services in predominantly central western Queensland.

This included options to extend for another 9 months in 3 month increments. Total contract value is about A$15 million.

Proactive Investors

Greens call for Qld Police Minister to explain Arrow Energy rent-a-cops

Greens Senator Larissa Waters has written to Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts to demand action after multinational miner Arrow Energy paid rent-a-cops to act as private security at a coal seam gas protest.

After a recent CSG convergence at Kerry, south of Brisbane, Arrow admitted to paying police to draft in armed special services, or “SS” forces, to stare down protesters, leading to 15 arrests.

Waters has also asked Roberts to reveal whether Queensland Police was working in league with the Australian Federal Police to spy on protesters using covert surveillance.

Around 100 police were in attendance at the tense Kerry stand-off, some paid the going commercial rate of about $110 per hour. Queensland regulations permit companies to pay police where a local commander considers a response is warranted “over and above” usual rostering.


Crikey

Arrow Energy: Confirmed Coal Seam Gas Fracking Within 60km of Brisbane and Gold Coast

Media Release:
 
Are city and country water supplies unnecessarily being put at risk by the same fracking chemical found by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to have contaminated an aquifer in the United States. Why did Arrow Energy not disclose this same chemical on its website list?

Evidence of coal seam gas 'fracking' within 60km of Brisbane and the Gold Coast confirms aquifers below our major cities and food growing regions may unnecessarily be put at risk, according to landholders fighting gas in the Scenic Rim.

Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic has used official 'well completion' reports to confirm repeated fracking of two gas exploration sites, five kilometres south of Beaudesert and within 100m of the Logan River, which is also the regional centre's main water supply.

Local residents and concerened citizens who last month staged an around the clock, ten day blockade say despite repeated questions about fracking, Arrow has never disclosed the sites or the complete list of chemicals involved.

Lock the Gate Alliance -South-East Queensland spokesperson Heidi Ross, said:
"Arrow Energy just does not seem to want to talk much about fracking in exploration so close to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. When they do, we're finding they're either not telling the truth or at times providing information which we believe is misleading".

"We have a right to know when they're fracking in our backyards and with what chemicals. The people of Brisbane and the Gold Coast also have right to know because their water supplies are linked to ours. "
"It's only from looking at newly released well completion reports, lodged with the Mines Department, that we find out Arrow Energy used a chemical known to have contaminated underground water aquifers in the United States. Arrow doesn't list the chemical on its website. We want to know why?"

"2-Butoxyethanol has been declared a Priority Existing Chemical (PEC) by Australia's National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme ("NICNAS"). It is highly mobile in soil and water. We ask why is it allowed to be used in Fracking at only 340m below the ground in very close proximity to the major drinking water supply for our region. In an area where the underground aquifers link to systems below Brisbane and the Gold Coast."

"Our concerns are compounded by what we know about fracking. In New York State in the USA, the local authorities have banned this technique in their catchment because they recognise it does have the potential to contaminate the city's water. Fracking is also banned in France, South Africa and Bulgaria. In New South Wales they have a moratorium because they believe there are enough doubts about the process to warrant it being put on hold to investigate it's safety."

"A moratorium on Coal Seam Gas and Fracking is essential. At risk is the water beneath our major cities and Queensland's food growing regions like the Scenic Rim; the same water we use to produce Queensland and Australia's milk, meat and vegetables. All over the world they are stopping fracking because it is dangerous and puts water at risk: Queensland must adopt the precautionary principle and do the same. We cannot afford to risk contamination of our water or food."

Background:


2-Butoxyethanol report by National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme. (http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Publications/CAR/PEC/PEC6.asp).



Heidi Ross, Innes Larkin SEQ spokespeople, Lock the Gate Alliance

New kid ready for serious fight

THE Labor new kid, not exactly on the Noosa block, Kurt Hopkins said at the Noosa Parks Association's measuring up morning last Friday that he was not in the State Election campaign on a whim but was taking a serious shot.

Katter Australian Party hopeful Bob Jarvis, the former Noosa councillor, said he was exhausted from a late night pow-wow with the Lock The Gate anti-coal seam gas lobby group, but gave a fair account of his party's policies despite his last-minute call-up to the podium.

Mr Jarvis announced to the environment group that the result of his sleep deprivation was that a Lock The Gate Noosa committee would be formed to help keep the invasive gas extraction at bay.

Read More

Noosa News

TransCanada Pipeline Project: Company Announces New Plans For U.S.

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday welcomed a Canadian company's plan to build an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas after President Barack Obama blocked the larger Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.

The new proposal by Calgary-based TransCanada does not require presidential approval because it does not cross a U.S. border. The 485-mile pipeline is expected to cost about $2.3 billion and be completed next year, pending approval by federal, state and local governments.

The Obama administration had suggested development of an Oklahoma-to-Texas line to alleviate an oil bottleneck at a Cushing, Okla., storage hub.

Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last month, citing uncertainty over a route that avoids the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. He said there was not enough time for a fair review before a looming deadline forced on him by Republicans. The action did not kill the project but, for the second time in three months, put off a tough choice on the pipeline project, which has become the focus of a heated political fight.


Huffington Post Green

W.Pa. Wells Had Casing Failures in Complaint Areas

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- At least two gas wells near a community that's complained of sudden drinking water pollution had casing failures during the drilling process. A well casing is meant to prevent gas or other fluids from leaking into nearby aquifers.

Last week Rex Energy of State College and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection suggested there was no evidence that recent gas drilling contaminated water wells in the Woodlands community, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. People in at least 10 households have complained of suddenly discolored and smelly water and unexplained illnesses.

But The Associated Press has learned that Rex acknowledged the well problems in a 2010 financial report.

A spokesman for DEP did not immediately respond to a question on whether the agency knew of the structural problems with the wells.

Times-Tribune 

Mining frenzy fuels mini-property boom, in patches

While the breathtaking, mining-fuelled sale of Central Queensland property Moray Downs for $110 million grabbed national media headlines recently, that outcome is just the tip of the iceberg in an emerging two-speed property market in some areas of the state.

It’s a development that carries a variety of implications, a Brisbane audience was told on Friday.

While Moray Downs owner, Acton Land and Cattle Co’s Graeme Acton denied there had been any sale of nearby sister property, Iffley, when interviewed by Beef Central last week, property title records tell a somewhat different story.

A title search clearly shows that in August last year, Macarthur Coal bought 26,000ha of country on Iffley, located southwest of Mackay, for a price of just over $38 million.

Technically, the Actons may still own ‘Iffley’, but title records show its size has now been reduced by almost two-thirds, from 41,000ha to just 15,000ha.


Beef Central

Bandanna Energy Limited (ASX:BND) Update Terms of Reference For Dingo West Project

Brisbane, Australia, Feb 28, 2012 - (ABN Newswire) -

Bandanna Energy Limited (ASX:BND.AX - News) is pleased to announce that it is now finalising the Terms of Reference (TORs) for its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Dingo West Project following closure of the advertising period for the draft TORs.

In all the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) received and accepted eleven (11) comments on the draft TORs following their advertising between 8 December 2011 and 8 February 2012. Of the eleven, 8 were from Government agencies and one was on behalf of a landowner.

Bandanna intends to respond to these submissions within the statutory 20 business days and expects that the Dingo West Project Environmental impact Statement (EIS) TOR's will then be finalised by DERM in accordance with section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act). The completed EIS will then form part of the application for its Mining Lease over the Dingo West Project.

About Dingo West

The Dingo West Project consists of EPC 881 and an application for Mining Lease (MLA 80180).

These are currently held 100% by Dingo West Coal Pty Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandanna. Coal quality data indicates a potential PCI product. Complex geology makes Dingo West more amendable to development via a number of smaller satellite pits rather than a single large open cut mine. Production is anticipated to be initially within the 500,000 tpa to 1 Mtpa range. Subject to approvals processes, first production is expected 2013.


Yahoo Finance

Bimblebox: A Documentary about Coal Expansion in Australia


Haw River Films and the owners of Bimblebox Nature Refuge have teamed up to produce a film aimed at drawing international attention to the issue surrounding the huge expansion of coal and coal seam gas mining in Australia (particularly the expansions planned in Queensland and New South Wales). We need your support to help promote and distribute the completed feature documentary film to a broad audience.

 The Bimblebox Nature Refuge lies in the path of what will be the earths largest coal mines. One woman, Paola Cassoni, decides to resist the "China First" project that will destroy her Nature Refuge and supply energy to Asia for the next thirty years. Paola's decision brings the  viewer on a tour of Australia's "Quarry Vision".

At this critical time, when so much coal and coal seam gas expansion is planned in Australia, this film aims to win the hearts and minds of the people, exposing the destructiveness of this industry to our climate, communities and environment. It tells the stories of the people fighting for their homes and culture. Australia is the worlds largest exporter of coal supplying one third of the worlds supply. It is impossible to address climate change without looking at Australia's role in the planets climate future.

Lismore: Birch Carroll & Coyle, Saturday 10th March, 4.30 - 6.30pm, $11.00
Byron Bay: Byron Bay Community Centre, Sunday 11th March, 10.30am - 12.30pm, $7.00

Murwillumbah: The Regent, Sunday 11th March, 3.30pm, $11.00

Brisbane:Tribal Theatre (the old Dendy), 346 George St (between Ann and Turbot), Tuesday 13th March, 6pm - 8:30pm. This Queensland premiere will be followed by a panel of speakers (for more information or to reserve seats contact Ack Mercer, alexemercer@gmail.com).

Toowoomba: Toowoomba Grand Central Cinemas, Margaret St, Presented by Friends of Felton Thursday 15th March, 7pm - 9pm, $10 Tickets from Social Justice Commission, Cathedral Centre, 123 Neil St(for details email friendsoffelton@live.com)


Kickstarter

Alaska is about to get fracked up




Alaska’s been coasting on its stores of easy-access oil, but a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the state has a motherlode of shale oil and natural gas. You know what means — here come the frackers.

The numbers are impressive: as much as 80 trillion cubic feet of frackable natural gas and up to 2 billion barrels of shale oil. To put that in perspective, the natural gas resources are smaller than the Marcellus Shale, which underlays Pennsylvania and New York, and smaller than Texas’ Haynesville and Eagle Ford shale formations — but it’s still the fourth biggest parcel in the U.S. The oil shale is the second biggest deposit in the country; only North Dakota’s Bakken Formation has more.

If you’re inclined to look on the bright side about oil and gas fracking, there are a couple of positives here. These resources aren’t in developed areas, which minimizes the health risks that come with fracking. And for the most part, these resources are also outside of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, so fracking would be better for the local ecology than drilling for conventional oil in ANWR.

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Grist.org

Will the Hawkesbury be a CSG dumping ground

Hawkesbury Environmental Network held a CSG information session in Windsor on 16 February. Jem Hallinan from the Environmental Defenders Office gave a presentation on the legal rights of landholders and Tim Spooner talked about how the Putty community found out about exploration in their area.
 
Tim also told the gathering that drilling fluids and waste water from the Putty core hole and from the wells at Camden are treated at a plant at Windsor. The treated water is sold to brick and tile makers but a company spokesperson said that during heavy rains some of this water flows into South Creek.
 
The Australian Government National Water Commission’s Position Statement on coal seam gas and water in December 2010 says that potential risks include:
  • The production of large volumes of treated waste water, if released to surface water systems, could alter natural flow patterns and have significant impacts on water quality, and river and wetland health. There is an associated risk that, if the water is overly treated, ‘clean water’ pollution of naturally turbid systems may occur.
The residue of salt and chemicals left over from the treated water goes into restricted landfill and the sludge is sold as compost.
 
 
The Putty Gasbag Blog

More than 500 turn out for anti-fracking event

About 500 New Yorkers and local leaders protested hydraulic fracturing at a rally in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday.



Chants of “no fracking way” filled the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday afternoon, as about 500 New Yorkers and local leaders gathered to protest hydraulic fracturing.

Known colloquially as “fracking,” hydraulic fracturing is the practice of creating a crack underground with highly pressurized water and chemical additives in order to harvest natural gas.

At the rally sponsored by several anti-fracking organizations, including Food and Water Watch, attendees spoke about the dangers of fracking. Critics say that the practice can release chemicals into the surrounding water and make it hazardous for nearby residents to drink, bathe in, and cook with.


Columbia Spectator

Athens County fracking leases go on the block at Texas expo

67,000 acres, at least, is being hawked at event


Photo Caption: This map was displayed at a booth at the NAPE Expo in Houston this past week. It shows 32,000 acres in Athens County available for oil and gas drilling.

Information from a huge industry exposition that took place in Houston last week strongly suggests that oil and gas leases representing at least 67,000 acres in Athens and Meigs counties were being shopped around to potential buyers who may want to drill for shale oil or gas here.

The local leases were being hawked at the 2012 NAPE Winter Expo, whose website bellows in a headline, "Billions of Dollars Looking for Deals!"

The leasing parcels were being offered in two roughly equal sizes. One of the local parcels, about 35,000 acres put together by the Southern Athens County Landowner Association, is part of a much bigger parcel of southeast Ohio leases being represented by a McConnelsville company representing a number of landowners groups in Athens and nearby counties.

The other big parcel, "Athens County 32,000 acres," was being advertised in that fashion on a map at a booth operated by Western Land Services, Inc., a Michigan-based company with several offices across the country. The map was photographed by an anonymous source at the NAPE Expo.


Athens News

Mine marches near


SCENIC COUNTRYSIDE: Open paddocks will become an open-cut mine under the proposed Rocky Hill coal project, five kilometres south-east of Gloucester.
 
FEARS of an open-cut coalmine within a few kilometres of the scenic town of Gloucester have been realised with the release of plans for a project valued at $150million.
 
Gloucester Resources Limited has begun the application process for its proposed Rocky Hill Coal Project, five kilometres south-east of Gloucester and the town’s high school.

Gloucester Shire Council has voted to lodge a written protest with the company.

The council has appealed to the NSW government not to renew the company’s exploration licences because of the potential for open-cut operations so close to the town.

The company plans four north-south pits, with coal-loading onto Newcastle-bound rail from a former Boral timber mill site and a conveyor corridor across the Waukivory Creek and Avon River floodplains.


Newcastle Herald

Experts: Fracking depletes water supply

When water is used for fracking, it's used to extinction.

"It's taken out of the hydrological cycle, never used again," Phillip Doe, a former environmental compliance officer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said Thursday. "When they say 5 million gallons for a frack, they're talking about 5 million gallons that will never see light again, and that's if they're lucky."

Speaking during a League of Women Voters Cross Currents forum on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," for oil and gas drilling, Doe said one of the biggest challenges facing the Front Range today is the amount of water used for drilling for oil and natural gas. That's because water used for agriculture and most other uses is returned into the hydrological cycle and used again.

But most water used for fracking is not.


colorodian.com

How much water is produced with CSG?



Coal seam gas is extracted by drilling wells into an underground “seam” of coal, then pumping some of the water out, allowing the natural gas present in the seam to escape and be collected.

This process is called “dewatering” of the coal seam.

The amount of water produced can be made to seem a little or a lot, depending on your perspective. The Interim Report of the Senate Committee chaired by Bill Heffernan was told by the industry that water produced was as little as 0.0002% of the water contained in the Great Artesian Basin.
The ABC site Coal Seam Gas by the Numbers gives a range of estimates of the total water produced each year. For example, the National Water Commission estimates 300 gigalitres (GL), that’s 300 billion litres. By way of comparison, Sydney Harbour (or one sydharb) contains 500 GL.


The Wellhead - Behind The Coal Seam  Blog

Australia: Greens Candidate for Whitsunday Concerned Over Reef Future



With Hay Point, Dudgeon Point and Abbot Point, and not to mention the debacle occurring in Gladstone, the people of Mackay and the Whitsundays who are concerned about the Reef cannot afford to waste their votes on either major party according to the Greens candidate for Whitsunday Jonathon Dykyj.

“Now the state government’s coal and gas port developers want to dump millions of tonnes of dredging spoil containing known marine toxins such as acid sulphate soils and heavy metals onto the Reef.” Mr Dykyj said

“For a relatively small “fee” this state government is prepared to sell our international treasure and job rich tourism icon to the mining industry as a dump site.

“The irony is that we have the tourism and agriculture ministers (Jan Jarratt and Tim Mulherin), who are meant to be representing our region and their portfolio’s best interests, but are just sitting idly by as this madness continues.


Dredging Today