Latest campaign: Stop coal seam gas
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Stuart’s family has been getting sick. Since the gas wells were drilled near their family farm, life hasn’t been the same. The noise from the pumps and drills make it hard to sleep. They are worried about the land too, having heard what has happened to water supplies in other places where coal seam gas mining has occurred.
Coal seam gas is a relatively new form of mining, but it’s spreading like a cancer across the eastern seaboard, with over 700 new wells a year in Queensland alone. Huge amounts of water are removed from natural aquifers to force gas out of the ground, then pumped back into the earth filled with industrial contaminants. Gas can escape, contaminating water supplies. People get sick. Agricultural land and water supply is spoiled. And once an aquifer is contaminated there is no known way to fix it. (See footnotes 1 – 5.)
Last night the community hall here in Lynches Creek, QLD, was full of residents from the Northern Rivers in NSW who had driven up to hear from locals in Queensland who have already experienced firsthand the devastating impacts of gas mining. The hall was packed, the atmosphere tense. People here are scared and angry, and they are organising to stand up for their land, the environment and their communities.
Locals here are calling on the Federal Government to stop coal seam gas expanding — at least until they research and regulate the practice. But this is an issue of national importance — and only together can we stand up to the powerful mining interests who want to expand unchecked. Can you sign the petition and stand in solidarity with the people who are under threat from this out-of-control industry?
Earlier this week Tony Abbott announced that he would support giving farmers the right to stop mining on their property. But within hours he changed his mind, and now says the issue should be left to state governments.
We can’t let other politicians back away from this important national issue. If Australians from right across the country show our concern, we can prove to the Government that this is an issue of national concern — and we expect them to act. Let’s call on Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Environment Minister Tony Burke and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to step in and protect our farmland, water, health and communities.
Coal seam gas mining in Australia has expanded faster than it can be regulated. The industry is without safeguards in place to protect the livelihoods of communities, the quality of our water, and the sustainability of the farmland. With coal seam gas reserves right across our country, it’s not just those next to the wells who have to be concerned.
No-one is taking responsibility for the long-term impacts of coal seam gas mining. The State and Federal Governments are playing political football with livelihoods – handballing the issue because it’s too hard to deal with. With the States failing to adequately control this industry, we need the federal government to act. Our nation’s food, water and health are at stake; let’s tell the Government to halt the expansion of coal seam gas mining:
The community is mobilising – neighbours are uniting to fight the expansion of coal seam gas in their community. A group of concerned residents collected over 300 signatures for a petition in just one day outside the local supermarket. Landowners are ‘locking the gate’ to stop the industry getting access to their property. Day in day out, they are doing what they can to stand up to this enormous industry.
Now it’s our turn to step up and back these communities. Our movement can bring the passion from the town halls into the halls of Parliament. Add your name to the petition calling for an end to coal seam gas mining before it’s too late.
Paul, Justine, Simon DW and the GetUp team.
PS – Over the next few days and weeks we’ll be travelling around NSW and Queensland meeting communities on the frontline of the coal seam gas industry expansion. Let’s stand with them in and show the federal government that this is an issue of national
importance. Sign the petition here: http://www.getup.org.au/stopcoalseamgas
1 Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library Background Note: The development of Australia’s coal seam gas resources Date 28 July 2011
2 National Water Commission, December 2010, The coal seam gas and water challenge: National Water Commission Position.
3 Dunn, Ross. Australian Petroleum Producers and Explorations Association on Lateline 02/08/2011 Coal Seam Gas Debate.
4 Doctors for the Environment Australia, June 2011, Submission to the Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee Inquiry into management of the Murray Darling Basin – impact of mining coal seam gas.
5 Senator Heffernen questioning Mark McFarlane of Santos in Federal Senate Inquiry. ABC radio, August 9, 2011.
6 ABC News, Jeremy Thompson Abbott backtracks on coal seam comments Updated August 16, 2011