Apex Energy, in a joint venture with Ormil Energy (later Magnum Gas and Power), obtained a licence in 2011 to explore for coal seam gas (CSG) in the Illawarra, south of Sydney. Almost immediately a group of concerned locals came together to stop the project — and Stop CSG Illawarra was formed. Five years later, as Apex Energy exits the scene, rather anti-climactically, it is apparent the community has won and the environment and greater Sydney's drinking water are safe from this threat.
Lock the Gate has reported that a joint Central and Northern Land Council meeting in Tennant Creek on July 27, which was called to discuss a proposed gas pipeline across Aboriginal land, has ended in a walk out by Traditional Owners. The Traditional Owners of the Wakaya Land Trust, whose land has been targeted for the proposed new gas pipeline between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa, oppose the pipeline. They are concerned about the rushed consultation process for the access route for Jemena's Northern Gas Pipeline and the pipeline's reliance on fracked gas.
"How do you exaggerate the greatest bleaching event on the planet? How do you exaggerate that one quarter of the world's largest reef is dead? You don't," Tony Fontes, a prominent Great Barrier Reef diver and tourism operator, told a crowd of up to 2000 at Steyne Park, Double Bay, in the heart of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's electorate of Wentworth on June 26. The rally was organised by a coalition of groups, including GetUp, Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society and the Nature Conservation Council.
I moved to Perth in June last year from a small, rural town in central Pennsylvania. There I witnessed first-hand the impact of the “fracking” boom — the rapid exploitation of the unconventional gas resources in the Marcellus shale play. It hit rural Pennsylvania particularly hard because it is economically depressed, struggling to make ends meet by farming and what's left of manufacturing that has not been outsourced to China, Mexico, and other exploitable labour pools.
The Western Downs Alliance has started legal proceedings to challenge federal environment minister Greg Hunt's approval of 6100 coal seam gas wells in Queensland. The Santos GLNG Gas Field Development Expansion covers almost 1 million hectares of land, from Roma east to Taroom and Wandoan, and north towards Rolleston.
AGL's Camden Gas Project, in the Macarthur region of south-west Sydney, has 144 coal seam gas (CSG) wells, of which 96 are currently in production. Twenty of the wells are close to the Nepean River and the upper canal, which carries drinking water from Nepean Dam to Prospect Reservoir. One well is just 40 metres from the river. AGL's CSG mining alongside the Nepean River risks contaminating this water with carcinogenic chemicals and volatile organic compounds.
As South Asia swelters through a record-breaking heatwave — with reports of hundreds of lives lost in India on top of the hundreds of farmer suicides this year owing to crop failures due to drought — a May 20 Reuters report that Pakistanis were digging mass graves in preparation for heatwave-related deaths brings the grim situation we are in into sharp focus.
About 3000 people, young and old, women, men and children, kayaked from Horseshoe Beach and blocked Newcastle Harbour to stop the coal ships on May 8. Organised by 350.org and other climate change campaigners, the Break Free event was a great success and also fun. There was a large contingent of First Nations people from all around Australia and internationally, from Samoa and other Pacific islands that could disappear due to rising sea levels.
The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (IKNAG) held a knit-in outside the office of the federal deputy leader of the ALP, Tanya Plibersek, in Sydney on May 16. IKNAG's Annie Malow contacted Plibersek with two questions asking for "yes" or "no" answers. The first was: Do you support a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchment? The second was: Would you move legislation for such a ban? Plibersek was not in her office, but two of her staffers came out offering the Nannas several balls of wool — all the wrong colours.
About 100 protesters, adorned in yellow and black berets, skirts, scarves, blouses, dresses and umbrellas gathered outside the Santos HQ near Circular Quay on May 4 to tell Santos to frack off from the Pilliga, near Narrabri. With them, sitting in a nearby tree, was a huge koala — symbolising one the endangered species whose habitat is being destroyed. Protests were also held in Brisbane, Newcastle and at the company’s headquarters in Adelaide where the new CEO was fronting his first AGM. Santos has lost more than $1 billion on its coal seam gas (CSG) project at Narrabri.