John Fenton is a real American cowboy from Wyoming, where the unconventional gas industry has run rampant. He is coming to Australia to speak about his David and Goliath battle against big mining. His trip will include a visit to Gippsland to talk to communities whose own farms are under threat from unconventional gas.
In 2008 John was told by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to drink the water on his property due to methane contamination. The EPA also told John to leave the window open or turn on a fan whenever he had a shower 'to avoid the risk of explosion'. When they came under pressure from oil and gas companies, the EPA passed the investigation to Wyoming State. The investigation is now partly funded by Inca Oil & Gas Co.
John is a beacon of optimism and community leadership in the face of disinterested money. He is sure that the landholders, who have everything to lose, will inevitably fight harder than the companies, who only have profits to gain. John has worked to scientifically analyse water samples from his and other peoples' property, and to conduct research about health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
Since John's water was found undrinkable, the mining companies have been forced to bring water in by truck. However his cows don't have that luxury and have to drink contaminated bore and melt water. His concern for his animals, and for the quality of his produce, are equally relevant to Australian farmers and anyone who eats Australian produce.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to hear first hand what it is like to live in a gasfield, to hear from a farmer that has had the experience of having his water and life devastated by the unconventional gas industry” said Ursula Alquier Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator
“We are lucky here in Victoria, we don’t have a unconventional gas production industry established here yet, we cannot be complacent. Hearing from people such as Mr Fenton gives us the chance to make informed decisions about what we want our future to look like here” said Ms Alquier
John Fenton will be speaking in Rosedale on Friday the 7th of March, 7pm at the Rosedale Mechanics Hall.
Entry is by gold coin donation, all monies raised goes to Lock the Gate who support rural communities fighting coal and gasfield expansion.