Every week Tony wakes at dawn to make his regular rounds. There are already 66 wells in the Piliga State forest near his farm, and over 1,000 more are planned. It’s supposed to be a conservation reserve.
He follows the pipes, looking for leaks, and often finds them. He takes photos of the unsealed ponds where mining companies store waste water from extraction, and of the trees dying off nearby. He’s right to be concerned. Analysis of waste in other areas found hundreds of industrial chemicals, and carcinogens linked to leukaemia at levels 6 to 15 times safe drinking water standards1.
Undeterred, coal seam gas companies don’t want anything to slow, nor regulate, their rapid expansion. So this week they launched a new PR campaign to convince the community and the Government there is nothing to worry about.
If the industry hasn’t moved into your area yet, watch this video featuring Tony and other locals to see why coal seam gas is the next big threat to our land and water:
With gas reserves under as much as 46% of the country2, even inner-city suburbs are under threat from coal seam gas. The mining process includes fracking – a process where industrial chemicals and sand are pumped at high pressure deep into the earth to fracture the rock. Water supplies are often contaminated.
Locals are doing everything they can to spread the word about the dangers of coal seam gas mining and fracking. They go gate-to-gate to speak with neighbours, hand out letters, and spend days writing detailed submissions to Government. Debbi, a GetUp member from Tara QLD, even drove 5 hours down to Lynches Creek NSW to tell a community meeting what coal seam gas is doing to her kids’ health.
But they can’t drive far enough, write enough letters nor speak to enough neighbours to compete with the gas companies’ advertising campaign. Let’s get their back.
Debbi often drives five hours to spread the word about coal seam gas – but you can help take her message right across the country with a small contribution to put this powerful ad on air.
What difference can you make? $43 can buy a TV ad during shows like Bondi Rescue in regional markets; $554 buys a prime-time commercial during the news that will reach tens of thousands.
We don’t have long. Next week, Independent MP Tony Windsor will introduce a bill to Parliament to pause the expansion of coal seam gas mining until scientists have time to assess the impacts on health, land and our ancient water aquifers. That means politicians will be assessing the issue in coming weeks, and sending opinion polls into the field.
Check out this video of Tony, Debbi and other locals and help spread it far and wide.
Paul, Justine and Simon for the GetUp team.
PS – In addition to toxic chemicals, it has been estimated that coal seam gas mining will bring over 50 million tonnes of underground salt to the surface.3 The industry admits it has no idea how to safely manage this.4 Watch this video and stand with locals calling for a freeze on expanding this industry until the impact can be understood and regulated.
1National Toxics Network. August, 2011. ‘Gas industry plays down BTEX levels in groundwater’
2Based on likely coalseam occurances within Sedimentary Basin data provided by Geoscience Australia.
3 Agforce evidence to the Senate Standing Committee on the Murray Darling Basin, December 2009.
4 Senate Standing Committee on the Murray Darling Basin, August 9th, 2011.