Executive Officers : Stewart Ewen, Graeme Gibson
Wednesday, 28 January, 2015.
Gas Watch 252.
BOTH AGL ENERGY AND THE GOVERNMENT MUST PUT A
STOP TO THE CSG POISONING OF THE ENVIRONMENT.
The Government called for an investigation and report by the Chief Scientist. They have that report in with
16 recommendations which the Chief Scientist reported needed to be implemented to make the coal seam
methane gas industry able to be managed.
Sunday, 16 November, 2014.
Gas Watch 251.
NSW GAS PLAN – Words only to help the current
Government limp through the next election.
... The “Gas Plan” claims to be a plan to “pause, reset and recommence” the CSG industry. It is not that. Important areas, including the Hunter, Gloucester and Narrabri, are being drilled and/or fracced by AGL and Santos in an industry which is currently unmanageable. If the Government was serious it would not selectively pause and reset, it would pause and reset and recommence on a statewide basis until the relevant legislation is in place and then reviewed to see if they make the CSG industry “manageable”... (see all in Gas Watch 251 ).
Monday, 27 October, 2014.
Gas Watch 250.
AGL Energy discriminates against solar power.
“Electricity (discount) offer unavailable to solar customers”.
AGL has placed full page advertisements in the Sydney press over the last few days offering discounts on electricity market rate usage charges, however has advertised that there is no discount available to those consumers who have elected to put solar panels on their rooftops in an effort to provide green and renewable energy and in an attempt to reduce pollution from coal fired power stations. ( see all in Gas Watch 250 ).
Thursday, 2 October, 2014.
Gas Watch 249.
AGL, IN THE LIGHT OF THE REPORT OF THE CHIEF SCIENTIST,
HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO SUSPEND GAS EXPLORATION IN GLOUCESTER
AND THE HUNTER, IF IT HAS ANY THOUGHT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND
THE HEALTH OF THE RESIDENTS.
Wednesday, 1 October, 2014.
Gas Watch 248.
Chief Scientist’s Final Report on CSG.
• “new technology developments which, if harnessed appropriately, can make CSG production
increasingly safer and more efficient over time”.
Sunday, 28 September, 2014.
Gas Watch 247.
The National Party gave all sorts of support and promises prior to the last election
Now an announced freeze on new methane gas exploration licences until after
State election next March.
Thursday, 18 September, 2014. Gas Watch 246. AGL to set up its methane Central Processing facility near Stratford. Migrating methane from fraccing caused problems here TEN YEARS ago. Why, you might well ask this Government, have approvals been given for Coal Seam Methane activities in this geologically sensitive area in view of the earlier, dangerous, migration of methane gas?
In preparing its Gloucester Gas Project plans AGL appears, either by accident or design, to have completely ignored, amongst other things, the problems and dangers which arose TEN YEARS AGO when exploration drilling and fraccing took place near Stratford. Stratford is pretty much smack in the middle of AGL’s proposed Gloucester coal seam methane gas drilling area ( see all in Gas Watch 246 ).
Tuesday, 16 September, 2014.
Gas Watch 245.
Does AGL have any idea what it’s doing to our precious water?
It’s a complicated document, well above our pay grade, but here are some
interesting excerpts, and some big numbers. How can this invasion of the
environment have anything but a significant detrimental effect upon it and us all:
Tuesday, 2 September, 2014. Gas Watch 244. Does AGL have any idea what it’s doing? Yesterday, an “as designed” coal seam methane gas escape from an AGL well, next door to the Spring Farm housing estate in Camden, is just another incident in AGL’s litany of environmental breaches in it’s quest for coal seam gas.
And as we all know, methane gas is over 20 times more destructive than CO2 as a global
warming blanket when released into the atmosphere.
Wedneday, 30 July, 2014.
Gas Watch 243.
AGL announces plans for a desalination plant in
Gloucester but is vague on what it will do with the salt.
Today’s AGL media release reveals that it will invest in a desalination plant to remove salt
from the fracking water it produces from its proposed wells in Gloucester.
Wednesday, 30 July, 2014.
Gas Watch 242.
AGL ignores existing data and commissions new
report in an attempt to have the Government abandon
its exclusion zone protection of residential areas and
critical industry clusters from CSG operations.
Thursday, 17 July, 2014.
Gas Watch 241.
Meet the Frackers. You will need to get to know them. Why?
And if AGL does decide within the next 100 years to extract coal seam methane gas from
under the vineyards, AGL says there will be a “VIRTUAL PIPELINE” of LNG tankers
transferring the methane gas from the Hunter vineyards to its Tomago gas storage tanks.
Wednesday, 9 April, 2014.
Gas Watch 240.
The official, signed offer from AGL & SANTOS –
“Any Landholder is at liberty to say “yes” or “no” to
the conduct of CSG Operations on their land.”
A draft letter can be downloaded for you to use
Just add your name and
property address and send it to AGL and to Santos the
signatories to the Agreement.
Tuesday, 1 April, 2014. Gas Watch 239. Agreed Principles of Land Access A document of “Agreed Principles of Land Access” in relation to coal seam methane gas projects was signed by Santos and AGL on 28th March.
1. The signed Agreement states that it is based on “values of respect, integrity and trust”. You don’t
gain “respect, integrity and trust” merely by signing a document stating that it is so. You must earn
them by your actions. To date AGL has given us nothing to inspire any respect or trust. AGL has
breached its environmental licence conditions and other conditions on many occasions. AGL knows
that it is not welcome in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley by the community, by Local Government
or by the State Government, but still pursues its coal seam methane gas activities and has elected
to have its own properties excluded from vineyard Critical Industry Cluster exclusion zones so that it
can drill adjacent to other properties and immediately next door to the Critical Industry Clusters.
Thursday, 27 March, 2014.
Gas Watch 238.
Coal Seam Gas Science Forum – Minister Roberts
attends and announces moratorium on CSG Licence
applications the very next day.
The Minister attended the independent Coal Seam Gas Science Forum on 25th March, as did 11 other
interested MPs***. It is great to see that the new Minister is openly examining the industry rather than
pushing the CSG miners’ barrow, as has happened in the past. It was also great to see so many Members
of Parliament wanting to learn the science of this infant, experimental CSG industry.
Sunday, 23 March, 2014. Gas Watch 237. Hunter Valley Community protests AGL’s plans to turn the vineyard village of Broke into Gaslands.
Last Friday afternoon AGL was having a dinner at their Pooles Rock property (the former David
Clarke vineyard) for, it appears, some of their executives and maybe a neighbour or two.
A group of community members, about 40 people, gathered outside the Pooles Rock property at
Broke to remind AGL and its executives that AGL is not welcome in the vineyards. It was a small,
Monday, 10 March, 2014.
Gas Watch 236.
AGL’s plans to dispose of contaminated fraccing water rejected by Hunter Water.
1. AGL,in an attempt to find a way to dump their contaminated CSG waste fraccing water,
tried to have Hunter Water treat it at their waste water treatment works.
Saturday, 8 March, 2014.
Gas Watch 235.
Fresh water aquifer contaminated by Coal Seam Gas project.
A second CSG contamination in the Pilliga –
and they haven’t even started to produce gas yet.
“The disposal of co-produced water has proved to be the biggest environmental problem associated with exploitation of coal seam methane fields in the USA, although the quantity and quality of the water can vary enormously between coal basins. Stricter environmental regulations are making direct disposal options increasingly difficult.” (Clarke L.B., 1996. Environmental aspects of coal seam methane extraction, with emphasis on water treatment and disposal; Transactions Institute of Mining & Metallurgy: A105-A113: May-August 1996) ( see Gas Watch 235 to read a blow-by-blow dossier ).
Saturday, 1 March, 2014. Gas Watch 234. To George Souris – Upper Hunter MP and Minister for Tourism. It’s upto you to now stand up and protect the Broke Fordwich winegrowing region from the ravages of CSG!
The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance continues to do what it can,
but George Souris made the promise, later supported by the Premier,
and it is time it was delivered in full.
On 27th January, 2011 George Souris wrote, emphatically:
Tuesday, 4 February, 2014.
Gas Watch 233.
Minister Hazzard and local MP Souris exhorted by
community to protect the whole of the Broke Fordwich
winegrowing region from CSG.
We have written to Minister Hazzard welcoming the mapping of 2 kilometre exclusion zones around the
villages of Broke and Bulga.
We have also welcomed the mapping of the viticultural Critical Industry Cluster Exclusion Zone.
But we have brought to the attention of the Planning Minister that:
Wednesday, 29 January, 2014.
Gas Watch 232.
Government’s mapping identifies CSG zones.
Yesterday, Ministers Hazzard and Stoner announced that “Horse and Wine
Industries Declared a CSG-Free zone”.
1. To the credit of this Government, confirmed the 2km exclusion zone around residential areas, which
now includes the Hunter Valley villages of Broke, Bulga, Camberwell and Jerrys Plains. This is a great
step forward in the protection of those villages and their environments.
Sunday, 19 January, 2014.
Gas Watch 231.
AGL to “focus our presence” in Hunter Valley CSG exclusion zones.
Friday, 3 January, 2014.
Gas Watch 230.
AGL continues to be the neighbour no-one wants.
AGL’s community involvement 2013:
Thursday, 28 November, 2013.
Gas Watch 229.
AGL - still spinning the figures.
Monday, 24 November, 2013.
Gas Watch 228.
AGL - now pumping salt onto agricultural land.
AGL issued a media release last week, crowing that it was irrigating cattle feed crops with
salty water from coal seams.
AGL says that it is blending good fresh water with salty coal seam water to irrigate its
Wednesday, 20 November, 2013.
Gas Watch 227.
AGL - wants land in protected winegrowing
regions made available for CSG drilling and fracking.
Santos CEO David Knox says that it is important for farmers to be given a choice saying that
Santos will not be seeking to drill for coal seam methane gas where landholders say “no”.
Tuesday, 5 November, 2013. Gas Watch 226. The “Size of the Prize” to become the paramount consideration for mining approvals. This week THE NSW government will implement controversial amendments to planning laws to prioritise economic considerations above all social and environmental factors when considering mining and CSG projects.
The Resource Significance SEPP, about to be gazetted, has been rejected out of hand by
everyone either involved in agriculture or who cares for our environment, and should be rejected out of hand by anybody
who wants to have a secure Australian food supply in the future.
Thursday, 3 October, 2013.
Gas Watch 225.
AGL claims: “New gas sources needed to maintain price.”
Amongst other things AGL spins:
Friday, 20 September, 2013. Gas Watch 224. AGL attempts to buy community support. AGL should be earning respect, rather than trying to buy it.
• AGL tried to sponsor the Singleton Outstanding Business Awards, but its sponsorship was
rightly rejected by the Chamber of Commerce.
Wednesday, 18 September, 2013.
Gas Watch 223.
Resource Minister Chris Hartcher wants to change the accurate name “unconventional coal seam methane gas”
or “CSG” to “natural gas from coal seams”.
It is being taken so seriously on Facebook* that it is wondered what other phrases could be changed to improve how they sound, eg:
Wednesday, 11 September, 2013.
Gas Watch 222.
Hunter residents are at serious risk of lung disease and
cancer as dust levels reach record levels.
The residents of the Hunter were forced to breathe filthy air on 1st September at 3 am when
the P10 dust particles in the air reached 348.1 micro grams per cubic meter.
Friday, 6 September, 2013. Gas Watch 221. Everyone now agrees it will happen – All that is now needed is for NSW to enact the law preserving the vineyards from coal seam methane mining.
1. AGL Energy now accepts that CSG activity will be excluded from critical
Tuesday, 27 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 220.
100 official “health alerts” for dust levels in the 239 days of this
For almost half this year the people of the Hunter have been
breathing air which is damaging their health.
Yesterday the wind was light, the dust during the day was within acceptable levels, even into
single digits (5.1 micrograms of P10 dust particles per cubic metre at 2 pm).
But in the wee small hours the dust levels went from safe levels to “HAZARDOUS” levels.
Wednesday, 21 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 219.
Barry O’Farrell’s new “user pays” democracy.
The people of Bulga took on the mining giant Warkworth Mining (Rio Tinto) in the Land and
Environment Court and won, protecting their village from imminent destruction by the dramatic
increase in size of the nearby coal mine...
Wednesday, 21 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 218.
"Abbott backs farmers' right to say NO".
Johnsen based his response on “CSG is seen as a transitional energy source and is proven to be less
emitting of carbon dioxide. It is also potentially more efficient”. Unfortunately Johnsen has obviously not
considered the science which says that CSG is likely to be a dirtier fuel than coal and that the CSG industry
has underestimated methane leakage from wells by 62,000,000 tonnes over 3 years ( www.tai.org.au ) and
that the huge issue of disposal of contaminated water is unresolved.
Tuesday, 20 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 217.
Government fails to issue “HEALTH ALERTS” when
dust pollution exceeds hazardous levels.
100 micrograms per cubic metre is defined by the Government as “Hazardous”.
No health alerts were issued this morning because the “rolling average” didn’t reach
dangerous levels, although individual readings were hazardous to the health of
humans and animals.
That’s now three days and nights in a row we have been breathing in dust which
could be doing irreversible damage to our lungs and the developing lungs of our
Sunday, 18 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 216.
“HEALTH ALERTS” ISSUED FOR THE HUNTER.
The Department says that anything between 75 and 100 is very poor and that 100+
is hazardous to the health.
Friday, 16 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 215.
Environmentally dangerous mining versus established, clean and responsible farming and
We have the wine industry working successfully at sustainability, and continuing its 200 year old
Thursday, 1 August, 2013.
Gas Watch 214.
All important to the O’Farrell Government and the
mining companies is: The size of the prize.
Minister Hartcher says this will “improve investor confidence” in the mining industry.
Tuesday, 30 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 213.
Let Australia starve.
There is nothing in the Draft Mining and Gas SEPP released yesterday by Minister Hartcher to require a mining proposal to even consider other industries near a “significant resource”. And “significant resource” isn’t even defined. Clearly the mining companies have been in the Government’s ear, and the Government has succumbed to their pressure heralding the end of any security in agriculture. Towns, villages and farms, under this SEPP, must play second fiddle to a “significant resource”. Agricultural industries, including the 200 year old wine industry and its associated tourist industry, face extinction ( see all in Gas Watch 213 ).
Thursday, 25 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 212.
Mining Industry claims of co-existence rebutted by Bulga Coal.
“World Class Miners” and the Minerals Council loosely claim that “research (unquoted) and the
experience of Bob (Kennedy) and other grape growers (unidentified) shows that it is possible for
mining and farming to work together”.
Tuesday, 23 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 211.
Xstrata hides behind the Minerals Council’s false, deceptive and
Withdraw merely the headline of the current official advertising Blitz where it is claimed that Xstrata’s Bulga
Underground coal mine is “now producing wine” we asked Glencore Xstrata.
The headline is, of course, a lie. The mine is producing coal. The vineyard above the mine is producing
Monday, 22 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 210.
Mining industry hits new low: Major official ad campaign based on
lies and politics.
A little known group called “World Class Miners” has co-opted an even lesser known grape grower
in the Hunter Valley in a failed attempt to show that grape growing and coal mining can co-exist.
A little known group called “World Class Miners” has co-opted an even lesser known grape grower
in the Hunter Valley in a failed attempt to show that grape growing and coal mining can co-exist.
Tuesday, 9 July, 2013.
USA: Fugitive Gases in Water Wells Near Shale Gas Sites
Friday, 5 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 209.
AGL’s “gas supply crisis” simply a lot of hot air.
Senior economist at The Australia Institute, Matt Grudnoff, says in relation to proposed increases
in wholesale gas prices, that:
Thursday, 4 July, 2013.
Gas Watch 208.
O'Farrell Govt “endorses” CSG exclusions in February ... now sits
on its hands !!
The Hunter's been waiting long enough and needs to get back to business, and the only way is to put pressure back onto the Government to come good and start acting on behalf of the community, not big mining companies ( see all in Gas Watch 208 ).
Friday, 28 June, 2013.
Gas Watch 207.
O’Farrell snubs community but gets cosy with AGL.
Within a few days of the Premier announcing exclusion zones from CSG mining, the head of AGL was sitting in the Premier’s office to talk about it. We, the community, have been trying to speak directly with the Premier ever since. On 31st May the Premier’s secretary wrote and told us that the Premier has “declined our meeting request” – refused to see us ( see all in Gas Watch 207 ).
Tuesday, 11 June, 2013.
Gas Watch 206.
Government sides against community to rush through legislation by stealth.
The Government wants no debate on what is arguably the most contentious industry in the country – coal seam methane gas mining.
The opportunity for the Government to enshrine into law its pre-election promises to permanently protect critical industries and environmentally sensitive areas has been lost.
The proposed new Petroleum (Onshore) Act concentrates on convincing us that the CSG industry will be punished for breaches, but omits to address important issues ( see all in Gas Watch 206 ).
Friday, 26 April, 2013.
Gas Watch 205.
Confusion over Interim Coal Seam Gas Protocol.
• that there will be no interference with the Critical Industry Clusters – neither equine nor viticulture;
• that there will be no lands within those clusters excised from exclusion;
• that there will be no “swiss cheese” approach to the current critical Industry Cluster mapping.
“A two kilometre exclusion zone will be imposed around residential zones to prevent new CSG exploration, assessment and production activities (both surface and underground); Exclusion zones will apply to identified Critical Industry Clusters – viticulture and the equine industry”. “These exclusion zones will apply to any CSG activity that has not yet been approved under the EP&A Act or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act.”– Barry O‘Farrell Media Release 19/2/2013.
But are these exclusions for real ( see all in Gas Watch 205 )?
Friday, 12 April, 2013.
Gas Watch 204
AGL’s claim of a “gas supply crisis” is nonsense.
Australia is exporting gas in almost identical amounts to the Country’s actual consumption. There’s
oodles there for everybody. Australia’s consumption has been dropping since 2007 and is back to
2004 levels. And don’t think that the export won’t continue. That is where this CSG will go, and
that is where the money is for these coal seam methane miners.
Friday, 12 April, 2013.
Gas Watch 203.
Hunter Valley Council continues strong support of its community
against the CSG mining in the Singleton Shire.
Clearly AGL has failed in its efforts to produce evidence to the community and all levels of
Government that CSG mining is safe, and is thus trying a new tack to panic the O’Farrell
Government into reversing its decision to protect residential zones and to protect critical
agricultural and associated industries from the ravages of coal seam methane mining.
Monday, 8 April, 2013.
Gas Watch 202.
Hunter Valley Council continues strong support of its community
against the CSG mining in the Singleton Shire.
These statements, made in a report to Singleton Council, were adopted by the Council tonight when it
debated the content of its submission to the Government in response to the Draft State Environmental Plan
setting out the coal seam gas exclusion zones.
Tuesday, 2 April, 2013. Gas Watch 201. AGL fails to follow other coal seam methane miners in saving their shareholders’ money.
Based on “market conditions and shareholder feedback”, Dart Energy has announced to the Stock
Exchange that it will suspend field operations in relation to CSG in NSW, including that at Fullerton
Cove, where Dart Energy recently had a win in the Land and Environment Court against the
Fullerton Cove community.
Tuesday, 2 April, 2013. Gas Watch 200. AGL takes another step in its destruction of the Hunter Valley.
A photograph of the drilling site at Yellow Rock(below)
near the Hunter Valley vineyard village ofBroke, shows
the first step in what AGL plan
s to be a spiderweb of roads, pipes, drilling pads and
coal seam methane wells in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.
GRAEME, CONGRATULATIONS TO GAS WATCH 200 !!!
Friday, 22 March, 2013. Gas Watch 199. AGL ENERGY’S NEW BATTLEFRONT - BRAINWASHING YOUR CHILDREN.
There is no end to the despicable depths to which AGL Energy will stoop.
Parents should be urged not to allow AGL’s spin doctors to play with our children’s fertile minds.
Fast food companies and all other contentious advertising are subject to significant regulation when it comes to schools.
This is the most cynical form of advertising possible, as it is being done by stealth.
Thursday, 21 March, 2013. Gas Watch 198. GOVERNMENT PRODUCES DRAFT PLANNING POLICY BANNING CSG DEVELOPMENT IN THE VINEYARDS. AGL Energy thumbs its nose.
Today, AGL said they had not even read the public consultation draft. In an extraordinary, but predictable, display of ignorance and arrogance, AGL called a meeting today to discuss their CSG drilling in the Hunter Vineyards, revealing that they hadn’t even read the public consultation draft SEPP banning CSG in the vineyards. “Haven’t had time” said the AGL Community Relations person, Alison Croker. Astonishing! Probably the most important document that has ever been published in relation to AGL’s coal seam methane drilling in the Hunter, and they hadn’t made the time to read it...( see all in Gas Watch 198 ).
Monday, 4 March, 2013. Gas Watch 197. AGL: "We own it (the land), so could we drill on it?”In another display of arrogance and complete disregard for the local community, AGL is reported to have asked today: “We own it (the land), so could we drill on it?”
Well, according to the O’Farrell announcements, the answer is a resounding “No”. The community of the Hunter Valley does not want AGL setting up gas fields and has been actively opposing this since 2004. It’s time AGL faced up to its lack of support by both the community and now the Government, and just went away from the Hunter.
The O’Farrell Government is to be applauded for listening to the community and for taking steps to save the environment and the iconic vineyards of the Hunter Valley, honouring its pre-election promises.
The community is so opposed to AGL turning the Hunter Valley into a gas field that AGL has had to buy large tracts of land in the Broke and Bulga vineyard areas because landholders won’t give them access to their land. ( see all in Gas Watch 197 ).
Tuesday, 25 February, 2013. Gas Watch 196. IT’S NOW OFFICIAL. AGL WILL IGNORE THE O’FARRELL GOVERNMENT’S CSG EXCLUSION ZONES. AND WILL CONTINUE EXPLORATORY DRILLING.“AGL intends to continue with its exploration activities, including drilling a number of core holes on AGL owned property and private land in the Broke and Bulga area, for which approvals are in place.” – so says the Community Relations Manager – Hunter (Alison Crocker – email 26/2/2013).
AGL has elected to completely ignore Premier O’Farrell’s announcements. You would think that AGL’s methane mining arm would have great difficulty in justifying this behaviour to its Board and its Shareholders.
Premier O’Farrell made it very clear in his recent Press Release that “Critical Industry Clusters identified under the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans – horse breeders and wine producers will also be excluded from CSG activities”.
George Souris, Member for the Upper Hunter has also made it very clear: “There won't be CSG development where no DA's have been approved, effectively taking out viticulture and equine CICs and 2km from residential zoning.” ( see all in Gas Watch 196 ).
Monday, 25 February, 2013. Gas Watch 195. AGL takes on the Government. AGL has clearly refused to accept Premier O’Farrell’s exclusion of the Hunter Vineyards from CSG exploration. And continues its drilling program.AGL today sent out invitations to “small, by-invite-only gatherings” to “peek” at “one of our operational sites” in Broke. What is it that AGL doesn’t get?
Premier O’Farrell has made it clear now, on more than one occasion, that no CSG projects will be approved in the winegrowing/tourism Critical Industry Cluster in the Hunter Valley. The Premier has made it abundantly clear that Broke, in particular, will be saved. This has been confirmed by Member for the Upper Hunter, George Souris.
AGL has no social licence to operate in the Broke and Bulga communities. ( see all in Gas Watch 195 ).
Monday, 25 February, 2013. Gas Watch 194. AGL attempts to create gas price panic.AGL, clutching at straws and claiming a possible increase in gas prices in the future, tries to panic the NSW Government into reversing its decision to exclude sensitive areas from CGS extraction. The Australian Petroleum Production and Export Association, APPEA, has weighed in with similar panic statements such as the newly made up phrase - “gas supply crisis”.
Will these people stop at nothing to keep their share price up at huge environmental cost? They claim that the cost of gas will rise because we will have to import it from interstate. Give us a break. 95% of our gas comes from interstate now, so how is there going to be a price effect? And you can rest assured that the majority of coal seam methane sucked out by the CSG miners will go straight overseas. ( see all in Gas Watch 194 ).
Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism industry excluded from Community Consultation Committee.
No representative of Hunter Wines or Tourism will be permitted to attend the next Hunter Community Consultative Committee meeting.
This is a Committee set up to facilitate consultation between AGL and the local community. The regular representative gave the chair some weeks notice that he couldn’t attend the March meeting and asked that a substitute attend on his behalf. The Chair, who has a discretion to allow observers and guests to attend and either take part in the meeting or not, has refused. ( see all in Gas Watch 194 ).
Tuesday, 19 February, 2013. Gas Watch 193. Hunter Wine Industry applauds exclusion of Hunter Wine Country from coal seam gas activity.Today’s announcement by the O’Farrell Government that the Hunter Vineyards are to be excluded from CSG activities honours the pre-election promises of the O’Farrell Government, and was received warmly by the people of the Hunter.
The devil is always in the detail, however, and we await expectantly for that detail. The exclusion area is shown in the Strategic Land Use Plan entitled “Strategic Agricultural Lands (Viticulture)” and you can find a copy of the map at http://huntervalleyprotectionalliance.com/pdf/HUNTER_SAL-Viticulture-with-road-labels-20111130.pdf.
What we now require is to take this from being announcements to being LAW. Not a simple State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) but law – strong, irrevocable legislation similar to the Character Preservation (McLaren Vale) and (Barossa Valley) Acts in South Australia.
And we need that law to be in place before the Federal election on 14th September, 2013, or it may never happen( see all in Gas Watch 193 ).
Monday, 18 February, 2013. Gas Watch 192. HUNTER VALLEY COUNCIL REJECTS COAL SEAM METHANE GAS..Tonight, Singleton Council unanimously rejected an application by AGL Energy to access Council road reserves for its coal seam methane exploration.
The packed public gallery burst into applause when Councillors resolved not only to refuse AGL’s access to road reserves for seismic CSG exploration, but to reaffirm Council’s objection to all CSG activities in the Singleton LGA.
In yet another display of arrogance, AGL didn’t even turn up to support their application, notice of which they not give to the community
( see all in Gas Watch 192 ).
Wednesday, 13 February, 2013. Gas Watch 191. AGL to risk 200 years of sustainable industry, and its future, for less than 5 years methane extraction.AGL would produce coal seam methane in the Hunter for a mere 4.73 years.
That’s the big prize for risking the fragile environment of the Hunter forever.
And the Government has washed its hands of all responsibility. During those 4.73 years the Hunter Valley Wine Industry could be devastated, wiped out, through fresh water contamination and the salt contamination of the highly productive soil from disposal of contaminated coal seam water.
The Hunter Valley Wine Industry is a sustainable industry with nearly 200 years of history, with another 200 years or more left in it, and attracts a burgeoning tourism industry. AGL today boasts that there are probable reserves of 669 petajoules of methane at Gloucester and “just” 142Pj in the Hunter Valley, and that it would produce about 30Pj per year.
Well, let’s do the sums. If, and that’s a big if, there is 142Pj in the Hunter, then the coal seam methane in the Hunter will be finished in 4.73 years ( see all in Gas Watch 191 ).
Tuesday, 12 February, 2013. Gas Watch 190. Just when you thought the Federal Government had grown an environmental backbone – it approves the Gloucester CSG project!.One day Federal Environment Minister Burke slams the O’Farrell Government for its slack approach to CSG.
The next day Burke aids and abets AGL in its environmental destruction of prime agricultural land around Gloucester – although today Burke described his approval as a “Clayton’s approval”, an approval you give when you are not really giving an approval?? Looks like he has done this simply to punish the O’Farrell Government for its slack environmental laws in relation to CSG.
The GM of Methane Mining for AGL, Mike Moraza, gave evidence before a Senate enquiry that AGL would not force entry onto any land: “There is a lot of country out there that can be explored and we would move on.” (Hansard) – yet in complete opposition to that evidence AGL has now been successful in Court, forcing 110 gas wells on the people of Gloucester.
But the likes of AGL never reveal the final scope of their whole CSG project. Who knows, we could end up with thousands of wells anywhere from Merriwa to Newcastle ( see all in Gas Watch 190 ).
Sunday, 10 February, 2013. Gas Watch 189. WESTERN SYDNEY A DISTRACTION FROM AGL FRACKING IN THE HUNTER.This Company HAS NEVER BEEN MORE ACTIVE THAN IT IS, NOW, IN THE HUNTER VALLEY, and is ramping up to launch its fracking in the region.
IS IT ALREADY TOO LATE TO SAVE THE HUNTER WINE INDUSTRY, with fracking exploration wells in the vineyards about to commence? ( see all in Gas Watch 189 ).
Friday, 8 February, 2013. Gas Watch 188. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CSG INTERVENTION APPLAUDED. NSW GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED IN DRAFTING COAL SEAM METHANE LAWS.The NSW Government has drafted laws which give no effective protection to even one square metre of this State, and which fly in the face of the recommendations of its own Stakeholder Reference Group.
As a result AGL Energy has already announced that this year it will be fracking coal seams in the Hunter Valley vineyards, even though it is concerned with the fracking technique it appears to now have abandoned in its Camden Gas fields.
This month AGL is drilling core holes through fresh water aquifers and hundreds of metres down into the salty, contaminated coal seams below, risking the fresh water of the Hunter Valley.
“The O’Farrell Government seems either incompetent, or unwilling, to properly address the effective control of the CSG industry and refuses to accept that CSG extraction and sustainable agriculture cannot co-exist.” said Stewart Ewen, the Chair of the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance ( see all in Gas Watch 188 ).
Sunday, 27 January, 2013. Gas Watch 187. AGL – HAVE THEY OVERSTEPPED THE LINE BETWEEN SPINNING & LYING?An AGL company mouthpiece went on record last week complaining that this Alliance broadcast “misinformation” and that we had never produced one fact to support any of our allegations about the behaviour of AGL in its coal seam methane mining activities.
So here we go again. Wouldn’t it be much more simple for them to admit they have breached some conditions in the past and perhaps say what they are doing to prevent them in the future. But no, we have to waste our time digging out the facts that they deny ever happened. Here, just briefly, are just some of those facts again:
FACT 1. During August, 2010 AGL, in the course of its exploration for coal seam methane in the Hunter, AGL dumped an alleged 300,000 litres of salty contaminated water onto pasture, killing the pasture. AGL admitted to 110,000 litres, and was ordered to remediate the site. The NSW Ombudsman said: “it appears to me that AGL breached their licence conditions by discharging the contaminated water” (NSW Ombudsman ref: C/2010/7463).
FACT 2. In July, 2011 AGL was issued with a “formal warning” by the Government following a blowout of a methane well near Campbelltown caused by incorrect operation of the well.
FACT 3. AGL failed “to comply with the Licence conditions in both of its Petroleum Exploration Licences affecting the Hunter Valley Wine Country (Report on Audit of Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licences in NSW – Phase 2).
( see all in Gas Watch 187 ).
Sunday, 20 January, 2013.
Gas Watch 186.
AUSSIES AND THE WORLD LOVE THE HUNTER VALLEY.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA LOVES THE BAROSSA.
When will the O’Farrell Government and the Minister for Tourism and Member for the Upper
Hunter, George Souris, realise that they must protect the world acclaimed Hunter Valley
Wine and Tourism industry from disappearing into a coal seam methane gas field, and
work with the local wine and food producers rather than against them?
Thursday, 17 January, 2013. Gas Watch 185. AGL Energy’s fraccing about turn in Sydney doesn’t surprise the Hunter Valley community.
It’s typical of AGL’s treatment of the general public in the Hunter
where AGL is clearly experimenting with coal seam methane
exploration and using the Hunter as its guinea pig.
Sunday, 13 January, 2013. Gas Watch 184. AGL Energy’s feeble and failed attempt at preparing the newly required Agricultural Impact Statement makes a mockery of the Government’s recently claimed protection of strategic agricultural land.
AGL lodged an “Agricultural Impact Statement” with the State Government, as it is required
to do, in support of its application for approval to drill through the upper fresh water
aquifers into the coal seam a kilometre or so under the earth’s crust.
Thursday 10 January, 2013. Gas Watch 183. AGL Energy’s contribution to the Hunter Valley during 2012 – Happy New Year.
Of course there’s plenty more than that which is set out below, but thanks AGL for ruining our 2012, for
ruining our Hunter Valley, for ruining our environment, for ruining our beautiful area, for ruining our property
values and our businesses, and for ruining our rural lifestyles.
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