Update on Coal Seam Gas Mining Situation in OUR Bioregion
This is serious… we’re going to have to bring in the big guns to defeat this evil nemesis… where is Superman when you need him!?
It’s just like something out of a movie… good verses evil, David verses Goliath. Three women sitting around the kitchen table over a cuppa and a pack of Tim Tams started a local revolution. This, saw a turn out of over 200 local worried residents attend a showing and discussion of ‘Gasland’ (a documentary made in 2010 by one young guy with un-answered questions) during the invasion from Natural Coal Seam Gas Mining Companies all over the US.
The general gist
Coal Seam Gas (methane) is the new ‘gold’ for mining companies and alternative fossil fuel power companies alike. These companies, such as Arrow Energy and Metgasco, are offering large sums of ‘ransom’ money to farms all over the region, from Casino to Kyogle, Clunes to Keerong and right up into Queensland country (not to mention WA), for the rights to extract gas from pockets under our precious soil. ‘Great’, we say, ‘Local jobs created, and local gas to all, a solution to our power problems, ‘Yay’!
This is what they tell us, anyway. They neglect to mention the water-hungry processes (as if Australia can spare any single drop of water!), terrifying chemicals used and dumped, and that ironically, everything mined is for export only. Australia still runs on coal and plans to for a whole lot longer, so the likes of China and Japan will be reaping the benefits without the land costs.
What is ‘Fracing’
Hydraulic Fracturing involves drilling deep into coal seams and blasting sand, water and other chemicals into deposits in order to release the methane, then capturing it in dangerous holding tanks, leaking a completely transparent, headache-inducing gas.
One of the biggest issues is the pollution of our water which feeds out livestock, pastures, gardens and homes, and also the damage it could potentially have on our natural springs that feed the rivers in the first place. Our earth is balanced perfectly, with pressures and releases in strategic places which have evolved to create and feed our water systems. Coal Seam Gas Mining drills deep into the earth and sucks out gas with its natural pressures. This process upsets the balance and stops the springs feeding rivers from tops of mountains.
It takes billions and billions of litres of water (all being trucked in one by one) to support the drilling process. This water must be combined with over 596 chemicals to assist the drill pieces and aid the process. Most of this toxic solution seeps directly into the earth. What is left over gets put aside in holding ponds, left open to evaporate (and used by animals), lined with black builders plastic, allowing seepage and overflow into nearby ecosystems and rivers. Just to be clear, this chemical soup includes every type of toxic: benzene, etheylene, toluene, ethyltoluene and xylene, to name only a few. The mining companies claim they don’t use these chemicals, but are yet to show any alternative chemistry which is safe. The NSW government has not yet banned their use.
Another effect to our homes immediately is, because of the pressure changes below, methane gas from the pockets tends to be pushed out in other places, such as creeks and dams, bubbling to the surface, creating a highly flammable (and stinky and toxic) water surface. Water is meant to put out fires, not start them! We cannot drink this water, let alone feed it to our animals.
Local Heros Need Support
This is only the tip of the iceberg. And it is coming to an area near you. Keerong Gas Squad, from humble beginnings, has taken an active role in standing up against this horrific business in the hopes of saving our homes and water systems… but they don’t just want to put a stop to the Keerong Valley plant, but the Rockhampton plant and the Clarence plant and the Tara plant and every plant in Australia and, well, our whole earth. We only have one Earth, right?
They need all the support they can get. They are planning media, local government and public demonstrations, including rallies, media releases to radio and newspapers, and local information nights.
The next meeting is Monday the 7th of March, 6 pm at the Keerong Community Hall. They will be joining the Cooee Rally in Lismore on the 5th of March. They have fund-raisers, working bees, interviews with politicians and surveys planned and will be getting signs and pamphlets out in the next few weeks. They ask us to write letters to our local government members (details on their website). We know that a petition, no matter how many names, is worth one vote, a proforma letter is worth 7 votes, but an individual letter is worth 50 votes.
Check them out on http://www.keerronggassquad.org/ their facebook page, or email
References and Further Resources
Gassland-your land is our land, 2010 Documentary, Ross Gittins
www.abc/4corners.com.au 21st February 2011archive.
Photos from http://larvatusprodeo.net and northernstar.com.au