2011-2012 Front Page Older Items

The Pilliga, Come and See It For Yourself, April 13th-15th

The Pilliga, located near Narrabri in NSW, is a vast and precious oasis in a sea of cleared land, a million wild acres of forest with an amazing diversity of wildlife. And now its under enormous threat…read more



Wanda Vaya Con Dios

‎***KERRY BLOCKADE UPDATE*** PLEASE head to Kerry on Monday morning jan16 from 10am Queensland time.Arrow negotiators will attending the drill site and there will be an endeavour to reach an agreement.The more people we have the better our prospects.We have been quite successful so far with the blockade and a favourable resolution would possibly have implications affecting the northern Rivers industry.To give an idea of the widespread support that has appeared, the following groups were represented in the 50 or so blockaders:Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic
Kyogle GAG (10 people)
Northern Rivers Guardians
GAG Casino
Nimbin Environment Centre
Rock Valley Gas Rangers
Lock The Gate representatives (Michael McNamara, Scott from Tara, Cassie McMahon)
Githabul Nation
Friends of the Earth
Occupy Brisbane
Socialist Alliance
Southern Downs Protection Group (Warwick / Stanthorpe)
Western Downs Alliance
Andy Grodecvki (Greens Beaudesert candidate)
Jennifer Sanders (Local Government Division 4 candidate)
Croftby Community GroupSeveral media representatives attended together with the police and MSS security.Some Scenic Rim members will also attend the Beelnleigh Court for Daniel Robins case (the drill rig climber who stayed up there all night!) ..


Support the Scenic Rim CSG blockade

Yesterday morning (12th January) the SE QLD community and others from around the Scenic Rim established a blockade to stop drilling underway in Kerry, near Beaudesert to allow time for baseline water studies and an independent study into the potential impacts of coal seam gas drilling on underground water. Please help us keep the blockade strong by coming down and standing with us.

Why is this important?
When coal seam gas drilling in the United States allegedly contaminated underground water supplies, mining companies refused to take blame. They challenged bore-owners to prove it was them. Without test data confirming water levels/purity pre-drilling, this was very difficult. Some Kerry farmers and others in the community have been pushing for ‘baseline’ testing, to gain understanding of local groundwater systems and also as insurance, if something does go wrong. We know accidents happen. We are concerned that if Arrow Energy pushes ahead with drilling before tests are done, there is increased potential for less accurate data and contamination. We are also asking for an independent study of groundwater aquifers which extend from the Scenic Rim into the wider south-east Queensland area including Brisbane. We need to fully understand these systems to assess the risk gas production might pose.

How will we stop the drilling to allow for testing?
The Liverpool Plains and Gloucester have already given us the answer: late last year both communities used peaceful blockades to stop access to drill sites, while they negotiated with the gas companies. Their leverage was the expensive drill, forced to sit idle and the fact that their demands were not unreasonable. Both groups successfully stopped drilling to allow for testing

Peaceful community action groups such as Northern Rivers Guardians, Rock Valley GAS Rangers, Group Against GAS Kyogle, Nimbin Environment Centre and Caldera Environment Centre have members on their way to Kerry.

More people are needed. Please come and protect our country. The blockade may be necessary for 2 weeks or more.

– the community blockade is on Nindooinbah Estate Rd at Kerry. Go to Scenic Rim web site for full info.

Contact phones: Innes Larkin/ Heidi Ross 0409 117056 Michael & Julie McNamara (NRG) 0418 195 258

Important Update on CSG Mining in the Northern Rivers and Planned Protest

It has come to our attention that the company LNG has now increased their share in Metgasco to over 10%. This company is majority owned by a subsidiary of the CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation)- the largest oil and gas producer in China and a state owned company. LNG has plans to build (yet another) LNG facility in Gladstone Harbour, on the coast at Fisherman’s Landing. In their latest quarterly report LNG details how they hope to secure 1.5 million tonnes per annum of gas from the Northern Rivers to supply their export facility (see map and media release below).

Conveniently, LNG are having their AGM in Brisbane and we plan to show up and let them know in no uncertain terms that the gas supply from our region is by no means a sure bet. Please put it out to your networks that their will be a protest outside the AGM as follows:

3pm on Thursday 24th November
at Sofitel Brisbane Central
249 Turbot Street,
Brisbane, Queensland

We want to get as many people there as possible to let LNG shareholders and board know that:
1.The Northern Rivers is not for sale
2. We will not let a gas pipeline go through our World Heritage Areas (or anywhere else for that matter)
3. The destruction of Gladstone Harbour and the Great Barrier reef must be stopped.

Hope to see you and lots of people from your groups there on the 24th,

Boudicca Cerese
for GAG Kyogle



Group Against Gas Kyogle

Northern Rivers Guardians



Recent developments on the share market suggest that if Metgasco’s coal seam gas production plans go ahead in the Northern Rivers most of the gas would be shipped to offshore destinations. According to local anti-gas groups, a company that is majority-owned by Chinese interests has plans to supply its planned Gladstone export facility with Northern Rivers gas.


“In the past five weeks we have seen the company LNG Ltd. increase it’s share in Metgasco from around 5% to over 10%,” said Boudicca Cerese, spokesperson for GAG Kyogle.


“This company has plans to build a LNG export facility at Fisherman’s Landing in Gladstone, and is hoping to secure 1.5 million tonnes per annum of gas from the Northern Rivers to supply it.”


“In their latest Quarterly Report, LNG Ltd. actually has a map showing Metgasco’s proposed Casino-Ipswich pipeline transporting gas to a hub at Ipswich from which it would be piped on to Gladstone,” Ms. Cerese said.


“A subsidiary of CNPC, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation, which is state-owned and the largest oil and gas company in China, holds a 20% majority share in LNG Ltd., so gas from our region may well be bound for China should this deal go ahead.”


“I think it’s outrageous that the State Government could even consider risking the precious waterways, pristine natural areas and fertile land of the Northern Rivers so that international interests can make a quick buck from export gas,” said Michael McNamara, CSG campaigner for the Northern Rivers Guardians.


“Production of this quantity of gas would require in excess of 1500 wells across the region which would have a devastating impact on local communities and the environment.”


“Thousands of people in this region are now involved with anti-gas groups and there is no way they are going to let this go ahead in our region,” said Mr. McNamara. “We don’t want to see our region ruined and we don’t want any more LNG developments in Gladstone destroying the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”



Contacts for information or comment:


Boudicca Cerese 0431 513 546

Michael McNamara 0418 195 258

Our latest success story: after NRG gave AEI a proper background briefing on coal seam gas, they moved quickly and decisively:

Australian Ethical sells out of Origin Energy

17 October 2011

Following a thorough assessment and review process, Australian Ethical has sold out of its investment in Origin Energy.

Australian Ethical Managing Director Phil Vernon said: ‘The decision was taken following a thorough assessment of the risks surrounding Origin’s coal seam gas extraction operations. Our conclusion was that, whilst the industry has invested in methods to minimise these risks, many of these are untested and there remain concerns about their long-term impact.’

Australian Ethical’s original investment in Origin was driven by their investment in renewable energy, their Greenpower program and their significant position in rooftop solar installation.

Mr Vernon said: ‘Origin has many positives but after considerable monitoring and analysis with the assistance of our ethical research advisers CAER, we have decided to divest from the stock. This leadership position reflects our status as Australia’s foremost ethical investment manager for over 25 years.’

Media comment
Paul Smith
General Manager, Strategy & Communications
Australian Ethical
0416 851 072


here is a sample letter you could send to your financial institution/bank/super fund/whatever:

To : Chief Investment Officer

{Superfund/financial institution}

Dear  Sir/Madam,

Subject: Coal Seam Gas

I write to ask if your institution is involved with coal seam gas (CSG) or have plans to do so. What investments do you currently have in companies involved in the CSG industry?

CSG is only one of many ways of meeting energy needs. There are , however, absolutely no substitutes for clean water. The process of mining CSG poses major risks of irreversible damage to our water resources, including the Great Artesian Basin, the only reliable source of water across one fifth of Australia. The likely damage to and pollution of aquifers and the problems associated with lowering of the water table must make us apply the precautionary principle: No investment in CSG activities until and unless it can be proven safe and sound.

The CSG industry will impinge on some of the most productive farmland in Australia at a time when we face both a growing global population and a continuing loss of arable land.  Further, good quality soils are may be ruined by contact with the saline water associated with CSG, adding additional risks to our future food security.

CO2 emissions are contributing to climate instability and the financial costs of extreme weather events in 2011 alone ran to many billions of dollars. Most experts believe we are approaching tipping points for biodiversity with many ecosystems from rainforests to reefs facing collapse.

Large tracts of land are being turned into gas fields. Clearing of bush for pipelines and infrastructure adds to species extinction in Australia. Dredging to build a huge new port for gas export near Gladstone in Queensland threatens the dugong habitat and the Great Barrier Reef, despite World Heritage status. The Gladstone – Curtis Island LNG project alone will generate 95 million tonnes of CO2 during its construction and 20 year operational life.

The US Council of Scientists has advised President Obama that the emissions from gas are much higher than previously calculated; that CSG is NOT a safe ‘bridging fuel’ to a low emissions future. Gas industry lobbyists claim gas-fired power stations produce 70% less CO2 than existing coal-fired power stations. The substantial leakage of gas to atmosphere before combustion are not included in the 70% figure and cancel out any implied benefit . This figure only refers to the emissions released when the gas is burnt. It does not include the emissions involved in producing the gas – the drilling, fracking, compressing, pumping, liquefying and transporting the gas; nor the loss of carbon-storing forests and woodlands cleared to make way for gas wells and pipelines.

Contrary to gas industry spin, CSG is not a “green alternative to coal.”  Because coal seam gas mining uses huge amounts of water we need to count the energy required to de-salinate the water produced from wells. CSG lobbyists say the water produced from the CSG mines will be taken away to be “cleaned” by reverse osmosis. Not only does this fail to accomplish its mission many of the toxic compounds cannot be removed from water by reverse osmosis, (Ref Dr. M. Lloyd-Smith of the National Toxics Network – ( http://www.ntn.org.auHYPERLINK “http://www.ntn.org.au%3e/”>www.ntn.org.au ) but the energy used for transportation and water “treatment” will add to the greenhouse load ultimately required for the production of CSG.

Clean, green alternatives  that can provide base-load electric power are available now! These could provide a broader and more diverse economic base with more employment opportunities than continuing reliance on fossil fuels. The gas mining industry will take what it wants and be gone in about 20 years with no remediation of aquifers.

Even if we access every source of fossil fuel the world will soon be forced to turn to sustainable methods and a dependence on CSG will only distract from a much-needed sense of urgency. The technology already exists to produce electricity economically from renewable sources: we have a choice whether to turn towards clean technologies now or to continue polluting our air, soil and water and risk a terminal decline in the Earth’s environment.

No amount of wealth promised to a powerful elite can justify the long-term devastation caused by the operation of CSG wells.  CSG mining is more than 80 % foreign-owned and the few short-term jobs created return little to local communities. Incentives currently offered by governments will probably soon prove politically unpopular and be withdrawn leaving the gas miners financially unviable and responsible for the costs of damages.

For example the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has released a new analysis projecting – for the first time – the likely cost of special tax breaks for the oil and gas sector. The report, Drill now, pay later: the growing cost of tax breaks for the oil and gas industry in Australia, calls for the removal of accelerated depreciation for oil and gas assets – a tax benefit not available to most other businesses.

We have an obligation to future generations to leave them a sustainable world. Financial institutions must do their part. No longer can you ignore the social and environmental costs. Financing CSG may look good now but what if they are made to pay compensation?

I urge you and your Board to seek further information about the CSG industry and not to rely on industry spin.
The summary information at  http://lockthegate.org.au/documents/#Fact%20Sheets is a good place to start. Many references are provided there to allow further research.

I want my investments to be in clean, green, sustainable industries.
Australian Ethical Investments has recently responded to these concerns and divested from companies involved with CSG. (see report  their web site posted 17 October 2011)
My future involvement with you will depend upon your choice in this vital matter.
I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,



{locality , State, post code}

and another big success:

The Australian National University will sell its shares in Metgasco, a company involved in coal seam gas extraction in Northern NSW, following student opposition to the investment.

ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Young announced the decision in a statement to students on Tuesday, in response to a campus campaign raising concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the booming coal seam gas industry.

The ANU’s decision is the latest controversy for the coal seam gas industry in NSW, which is drawing opposition from across the political spectrum. The rush to develop NSW’s vast reserves is seeing farmers, environmentalists, students, and even Alan Jones, all calling for caution.

Tom Stayner from the ANU Environment Collective, the student group behind the Metgasco campaign, says they are excited about the decision and hope it will set a precedent.

“He took some convincing, but the Vice Chancellor is showing leadership on this urgent issue”, Stayner says. “The ANU should be about the public good. It shouldn’t be risking Australia’s clean water and farming communities–not to mention impacts on the climate.”

The Vice Chancellor’s short statement “notes” the students’ concerns, but does not say why the University will sell its shares in Metgasco. An ANU spokeswomen said in a further statement “The decision was made by the Vice-Chancellor after concerns were raised with him, and he investigated the matter.”

The Canberra Times reports the Vice Chancellor said the decision was “pragmatic” and based on the low price of the shares, and also downplayed the role of the student campaign. (“Students Call for Shares Accountability at ANU” – 14/10/11, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/students-call-for-shares-accountability-at-anu/2323685.aspx

)The ANU currently holds a 1% share in Metgasco, worth around $1 million, making it the 12th largest shareholder. The ANU’s total investment portfolio is valued at over $1 billion.

Students from the Collective say they discovered the investment in Metgasco’s annual report. They were spurred on by contact from several people in areas affected by Metgasco operations, who urged a push for divestment.


NDA Events in Tweed Shire

Dear Northern Rivers Guardians, hello again from the co-secretary who has been on leave. There’s lots happening, so here’s a quick overview of current and upcoming events regarding CSG, Save Byrrill Creek, and other issues

NRG’s preparations for the Lock The Gate / Defend Our Water National Day of Action on October 16th are going well. Any community that can get a few people together to demonstrate against CSG mining is encouraged to make two banners and send one to Sydney, where the state tally board will record locations and numbers for media purposes. So far NRG has plans for demonstrations  at Tweed Heads, M’bah, Burringbar, Uki, Byrrill Creek, Mt. Burrell cafe and Nimbin. Please contact 0488 432 522 for more information.


We’re having  banner painting days to prepare the banners. These are always great fun get togethers. Paint, sponges, brushes and sheets will be available, bring more if you can.

Next Banner Painting Day:

Saturday October 8, 10am – 5pm at Murwillumbah railway station. (We figured the station might as well make itself useful!)




We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events!


Best wishes, Andrea


‘Get Up’ have finally Got Up, re. CSG  Yay !
Sign their Petition NOW


Michael & Julie on Tour get coverage from Channel 7

click to watch the video of our ‘Duo on a Mission’

If you haven’t made up your mind yet about Coal Seam Gas or
if you need some information for the next discussion here is a great link to 4 different point of views.

www.smh.com.au – is CSG worth the risk ?

Follow the tracks of Michael & Julie on their journey
to raise awareness how threatened our water is.



Angry scenes at CSG mining meeting


  • From: AAP
  • August 01, 2011 11:57PM

COAL seam gas mining industry representatives and environmentalists have faced off at a heated community meeting in inner west Sydney.

There were angry scenes at the meeting in Leichhardt Town Hall this evening, mainly directed at the CEO of Dart Energy, the company that holds the exploration licence to drill for coal seam gas in the Sydney region.
Dart Energy CEO Robbert de Weijer said he understood people’s concerns around coal seam gas mining, but said he believed it could co-exist with communities.
His assurances that the company would not use fracking “unless it is deemed acceptable and approved by the authorities and there has been adequate community dialogue”, was met with a derisive response from members of the public.
There were calls of “bulls***” as Mr de Weijer insisted the industry was well regulated.

Moira Williams, of Sydney Residents against Coal Seam Gas, told Mr de Weijer the community held him “personally responsible” for the decision to mine coal seam gas in Sydney.

“How long do we have to shout ‘no’ to make sure you listen?” Ms Williams said, to roars of approval.
The NSW government last month extended a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking process, in which miners inject water or other fluids into cracks in rock to extract gas and/or oil.
Toxic BTEX chemicals (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes) were also banned as part of a tough new regime for the infant industry.
However, the meeting heard that BTEX chemicals naturally occur in coal seam gas water.
Helen Redmond, of Doctors for the Environment Australia, said the water needed extensive treatment before it could be released back into the environment, but there were no formal requirements in place in NSW to ensure this happened.
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, who has introduced a bill calling for a 12-month moratorium on coal seam gas mining, said NSW had the opportunity to “press stop” on the practice.
It had not been proven to be safe and an inquiry was needed to examine its full effects, he said.
“The industry uses words like currently, they say, ‘we currently have no plans’, ‘at this stage we have no plans,’ and that’s how it grows, incrementally, bit by bit,” he said.
“I have not met one person out of the thousands and thousands that I’ve talked to in the last six months who have said they want coal seam gas.”
However, Ross Dunn of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, said there was a lot of misinformation around the chemicals used in coal seam gas mining.
“These are chemicals that are found in food, in cosmetics, in your swimming pool, in your laundry cupboard,” he said.
Mr de Weijer assured the meeting his company was committed to being fully transparent in its operations.
“I’ve got a wife, I’ve got two kids. We love Australia, it’s a beautiful country and the last thing I want, and the last thing Dart Energy wants, to do is make a mess of it,” he said.
The greatest cheers of the evening were reserved for Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance, who called on people to become “the custodians of this land” against coal seam gas mining.
“The end point of that is going to be a sustainable future, not one which is in the hands of these great corporate bodies, which suffer from hubris and think that they are completely uncontrollable,” Mr Hutton said.
“Well, they’re not uncontrollable.”

To everyone who wants the government to stop allowing mining companies to destroy NSW

The NSW Government is sponsoring a $900 a head NSW Mineral Exploration and Investment Conference next month in Sydney. The two-day event (18/19 August) will see government and industry players coming together at a fancy hotel to discuss how to carve up NSW for coal and gas mining and destroy communities the environment and the agricultural potential of the state.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is inviting communities groups who want a different future to come to Sydney and present the other side of the impacts of mining. We need representatives from every campaign group across the state to give a clear and loud message to the government and industry.

Lets have our own conference – a conference for food, water and communities.

What: Rally at the NSW Mineral Exploration and Investment Conference 2011
Where: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, Phillip St Sydney
When: 12noon, Thursday 18 August
Speakers: Speakers from local campaign groups around the state have been invited to address the rally – see the Lock the Gate website for updates in the next two weeks

For more information email rally@lockthegate.org.au Register at the Facebook Event

Visit the Lock the Gate Alliance Website


Groups from across the Northern Rivers working on coal seam gas issues are now working together on a regional basis to fight the threats that  this industry poses to our precious environment and vibrant communities. In our first coordinated action we are going to bombard the company that has applied to the NSW government for a petroleum exploration license over a large portion of the Tweed and Brunswick valleys and the Dept. of Planning and relevant ministers who issues the licenses.

I urge you to send the following email to the company and the dept./ministers at  the email addresses provided OR write your own email telling them why they are not welcome in the Tweed, Brunswick or any other valley in the region. I thought it would be good to send the emails on Monday the 25th of July as it is the first working day since the moratorium on new CSG explorations expired.

Thank you for your support- together we can make a difference,

Kind Regards,
Boudicca Cerese & Michael McNamara


——————————————————————————————————————————————————————–To: jneedham@dartcbm.comTo the company shareholders, executives and employees of Dart Energy,I am writing as a resident of the Northern Rivers New South Wales to let you know that we do not want coal seam gas exploration in the iconic Tweed valley or any other valley in the region. I urge you to withdraw your company’s petroleum exploration license application (number 134) and warn you that if you try to go ahead with exploration activity we will fight it every step of the way.

Our communities will join together across this region to protect the beauty and biodiversity of our natural areas and to make sure that our pristine lands and waters remain clean and productive for the generations who follow us. We don’t want to continue our dependence on destructive, polluting fossil fuels such as coal and gas, we want our region to be a part of creating a sustainable future that utilizes a range of renewable energies.

Again, I strongly urge you to withdraw this application immediately,




To the Department of Primary Industries and government ministers,

I am writing as a resident of the Northern Rivers to let you know that we do not want coal seam gas exploration in the iconic Tweed valley or any other valley in the region. I urge you to reject petroleum exploration license application number 134 and warn you that if it is granted we will fight it every step of the way.

Our communities will join together across this region to protect the beauty and biodiversity of our natural areas and to make sure that the land and water remains clean and productive for the generations who follow us. We don’t want to continue our dependence on destructive, polluting fossil fuels such as coal and gas, we want our region to be a part of creating a sustainable future that utilizes a range of renewable energies.

I ask that you extend the moratorium on all coal seam gas exploration and production in NSW to allow for comprehensive independent studies of the environmental, economic, health  and social impacts impacts to be carried out. There should be no recommencement of these activities until there are appropriate regulatory and legislative frameworks in place to prevent any harm being caused.

Again, I strongly urge you to reject this application immediately,


World Heritage Area Under Threat from Coal Seam Gas Development

Hello Everyone,

as you are probably aware Metgasco has plans to run a gas pipeline from Casino to Ipswich along the Richmond Valley then through the Border Ranges National Park and on into Queensland. We feel it is vital to oppose this development for a range of reasons including the fact that it will pass through a World Heritage area which is an important tourist draw card to the area.
In addition, we believe if this pipeline goes ahead it will open up the Northern Rivers region to large scale CSG production across a number of Petroleum Exploration Licenses- one of the aims of the pipeline as stated in Metgasco’s project report is to “encourage development of further gas fields in New South Wales”. For this reason we feel it is important that people throughout the Northern Rivers are aware and involved.
We are stepping up the campaign against this project and would welcome participation and support from groups and individuals across the region. We are planning another public meeting in Kyogle on the 19th of July ?  More about this later
Thank you,
Kyogle Group Against Gas
Leah Hobbs
Paul Hobbs
Boudicca Cerese


Stand in the Sand at Byron a great success

The Stand in the Sand at Byron Bay attracted over 2,000 people to spell out an anti-fracking message from the North Coast.








Byron Stand in the Sand (Photo by Jimmy Malecki)








Video and More photos

NBN TV News coverage

NRG gives a BIG Thank You to John Callinan. He knows why. Onya John!


United Community Gathering a great success.

Well over 2,000 people (some estimates put the crowd closer to 3,000)  gathered in Murwillumbah today to express their concern about the impacty of coal seam gas mining on local communities, industries and the environment.

Paul Joseph’s anti-fracking songs were extremely well received with the assembled masses singing along.

For a taste of what the day was like follow the link to the NBN TV Gold Coast news coverage.

We will be posting more video and links to our site over the next few days to give a more complete coverage of the day.

As the Coal Seam Gas Campaign Co-ordinator for Northern Rivers Guardians I want to thank the Caldera Environment Centre for partnering with us to organise the event.

I also want to thank the thousands who turned out to fill the streets of Murwillumbah to say to the mining companies and to state and federal governments that “Not only don’t we want it – we won’t have it!”.

This event marks not the end but rather the beginning of a community campaign to protect our way of life from those who value short term profits over community values, sustainable development, the environment and our quality of life.

Thank you to everyone who organised the event and to those who attended to make it such a success.

Michael McNamara
Coal Seam Gas Campaign Co-ordinator
Northern Rivers Guardians

Also check out the full length video.





Album #1: Before the march,: preparation, scenes, signs and people.

Album #2: On the march (Wollumbin Street) and back at the park for the rally and speakers.

Album #3: After the March; Rally speeches, street theatre, general mood


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