T4 shelved: welcome news for rural communities

Published: April 10, 2013

Rural community groups along the Hunter coal chain have welcomed today's news that the controversial T4 coal terminal project in Newcastle has been shelved for at least two years, perhaps permanently. 

"The T4 coal terminal project has been a profound threat to our entire region," said Steve Phillips, Hunter co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.

"About 15 large open cut coal mines would be required to supply T4. Throughout the Hunter Valley and Liverpool Plains, agricultural land, water resources, and remnant bushland have been under extreme pressure as the coal industry rapidly expands. With T4 on ice, that pressure is eased, and our region is a little bit safer. This is very welcome news for rural communities along the Hunter coal chain," said Phillips.

John Kaye, from Keep Denman Coal Mine Free, said: "Coal mine proposals are threatening Denman from every direction, and many people in our community have had a gut full. We are already impacted by nearby coal mines, and we don't want any more. The T4 project would facilitate a massive proliferation of coal mining. We are very glad to see it shelved."

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CSG in retreat – Dart Energy leaves the Hunter

Published: April 02, 2013

The Lock The Gate Alliance has welcomed today's news that coal seam gas (CSG) driller Dart Energy are suspending their operations in NSW.

Dart released a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange this morning, blaming 'uncertainty created by recent NSW and Federal Government decisions' for its decision to suspend operations at Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle.

"This is a huge victory for the community of Fullerton Cove, and for Newcastle at large," said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for Lock The Gate. "With Dart suspending their operations in this area, our precious drinking water is safe, for now, from coal seam gas."

"The people of Fullerton Cove have fought bravely to defend their community from a global gas company, and for now at least, they have won. Dart Energy were never welcome at Fullerton Cove. 97.5% of Cove residents voted to be CSG Free. When Dart tried to bring a drill rig in last August, the people of Fullerton Cove staged a courageous blockade lasting over a week."

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Coal seam gas approvals reveal flawed system in Queensland

Published: April 02, 2013

Last night's 4 Corners Program "Gas Leak" revealed not only a hasty and incompetent process in the approval of thousands of coal seam gas wells in Queensland in 2010 but also a potentially illegal one.

The key breach occurred with the failure by coal seam gas companies to provide the Queensland Government with sufficient information to enable a valid environmental authority (EA) to be provided.

The Lock the Gate Alliance said the state's Environmental Protection Act 1994  explicitly states the companies must provide a valid Environmental Management Plan before any EA can be granted.

Information provided by documents obtained under Right to Information by Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton and the 4 Corners interview by whistleblower Simone Marsh reveal that little of this necessary information was provided by either the Santos project (GLNG) or the QGC project (GCLNG).

Mr Hutton and Ms Marsh have taken complaints about this process to the state's Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

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QLD Government backflips on protecting communities from coal

Published: March 27, 2013

Lock the Gate today slammed the Queensland government’s support of the proposed expansion of the Acland coal mine.

“This move is a slap in the face for rural communities living near mine who were promised before the last election that there would be no expansion,” said Lock the Gate’s Darling Downs Coordinator Shaun Murray. 

“It appears that the current government is no better than the previous government and is prepared to sacrifice the health of rural communities and more good agricultural land in the Darling Downs, all for a quick buck.

This proposed coal expansion is also a concern for people living in Brisbane, as it would mean millions of tonnes of additional coal moving through Brisbane, and more particulate pollution.

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New CSG rules - Dart, AGL should stop wasting money

Published: March 21, 2013

Lock The Gate have called on gas companies to stop exploring for gas in the Hunter vineyards, and at Fullerton Cove, following the release today of draft new coal seam gas (CSG) exclusion zones in NSW.

The eagerly awaited draft regulations from the NSW Government prohibit coal seam gas activities within 2km of land zoned residential, or within mapped “criticial industry cluster” areas of vineyards or thoroughbred studs.

Lock The Gate's regional coordinator for the Hunter, Steve Phillips, said: “Fullerton Cove itself is not zoned residential, although there 80 families living within two kilometres of Dart's proposed pilot production gas wells. There are residential areas very close by and it remains to be seen how the draft new CSG exclusion zones will affect Dart's pilot gas wells.”

“But what is clear is this – Dart will never get approval for full scale gas production at Fullerton Cove, and they should stop wasting their shareholder's money on exploratory drilling. Commercial CSG production requires hundreds of gas wells, over a wide area, and the presence of residential zoned areas at Fern Bay and other nearby locations will be too restrictive to allow full scale CSG drilling at Fullerton Cove.

“The draft rules would also prohibit CSG drilling in the Broke – Fordwich Wine Region, a mapped critical wine country area, where AGL is exploring for CSG. The draft rules are very clear that mapped critical wine country will be excluded from CSG activities. We call on AGL to stop wasting their shareholder's money exploring for gas in an area where they will never get approval to go into commercial production.

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Content on this site is authorised by Georgina Woods for Lock the Gate Alliance, Lismore NSW.