Research into CSG must not become academic ‘snouts in the trough’

Published: November 03, 2011

Research centres are lining up to get a piece of the pie in the form of research grants into coal seam gas but many of these are wholly or partially funded by the very industry they are supposed to be researching.

This money could become available if the Gillard government agrees to the demand by Independent MP, Tony Windsor, for substantial funding to be put into the impacts of the coal seam gas industry before the industry moves ahead.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said many research centres had a fundamental conflict of interest on coal seam gas and should be disqualified from any of this funding.

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Landowners Blockade Coal Seam Gas Project

Published: October 27, 2011

Caroona Coal Action Group: State & Federal govts called on to intervene to protect Liverpool Plains aquifer systems

Landowners from communities across the Liverpool Plains have been forced to take direct action against the mining giant Santos to stop it pushing ahead with ‘pilot production' of coal seam gas before the potential risks to the region's iconic water systems are known.

This morning local residents began parking vehicles and heavy farm machinery to blockade the George's Island Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL 1) site, near Spring Ridge, after Santos repeatedly refused to wait for the outcome of the Namoi Catchment Water Study before escalating its operations.

The independent water study – established by the NSW Government and jointly funded by the Federal Government and mining companies, including Santos – is due to be completed next year.  It is expected to provide the most comprehensive picture yet of the region's complex network of aquifers to better understand the risks posed by large-scale mining.

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Federal Government attempts to spin its way past Gladstone harbour debacle

Published: October 26, 2011

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has put his name to possibly the most blatant piece of hypocrisy in the country by writing an introduction to an lift-out into Gladstone's local newspaper.

The lift-out is entitled "Reef Guardians" and Mr Burke talks about all the wonderful things the federal government is doing on the Great Barrier Reef overlooking the fact that it was his approval of the massive construction in Gladstone harbour, especially the dredging to allow LNG tankers into the port, that is undoubtedly one of the prime causes of the current threats to the environment.

Mr Burke also approved the dumping of toxic spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area.

Lock the Gate Alliance presdient Drew Hutton said Mr Burke will not be allowed to spin his way out of his responsibility for what is happening to this precious area.

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Miners will reap rewards of Murray Darling Basin Plan

Published: October 26, 2011

The Lock The Gate Alliance has taken aim at the forthcoming Murray Darling Basin Plan stating only the mining industry, including coal seam gas projects, will benefit from the proposed Sustainable Diversion Limits.

The Australian Government has committed over $10 billion of taxpayer funds to buy water for the Murray Darling Basin.  The proposed Basin Plan will buy more than 1900 GL over the next 7 years to help return the Basin's rivers, floodplains and wetlands to health.

The best available science indicates that 4000GL are needed to give the Basin a reasonable chance of recovering from decades of over-allocation and drought.

But Lock the Gate Alliance President Drew Hutton says the Murray Darling Basin Authority's current thinking is to allow for more than 2400 GL / annum of additional groundwater extraction.

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Strategic Cropping Land legislation won’t stop coal mines

Published: October 26, 2011

The Lock the Gate Alliance says the ultimate worth of the worth of the Bligh government's strategic cropping land legislation being introduced into the parliament today will be measured by how many coal mines it stops from alienating good farm land.

President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, said the Bligh government was claiming it would protect 4 percent of the state but this was sheer spin and it was unlikely that more than 1 percent would be protected because the criteria for what constituted "strategic cropping land" were too restricted and because it won't stop coal seam gas development on this land.

"While mining in about 4 percent of the state might potentially trigger this legislation, criteria like a maximum 4 percent slope rules out much valuable land.

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