Miners take farmers to court in Southern Highlands coal bid

Published: November 29, 2012

Mining company Hume Coal, partly owned by Korean company POSCO, will be in the Land and Environment Court today attempting to use legal force to barge its way onto rich farmland to explore for coal in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

Lock The Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said the case epitomises the severe threat which mining poses to agriculture, heritage values, water resources and rural communities across Australia.

POSCO is seeking to enforce access along a private road so that its drilling rig can explore for coal at Sutton Forest.

The area is part of the drinking water catchment for Sydney which provides water for 4 million people.

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Lock the Gate calls on Newman government to heed warning by Hopper

Published: November 26, 2012

The Lock the Gate Alliance believes the frustration felt by resigned Liberal National Party MP, Ray Hopper, over the Newman government’s policies on coal seam gas are only the tip of the iceberg for the rural community.

Lock the Gate president, Drew Hutton, said, while many voters at the last election simply wanted to get rid of the Labor government, many would vote against the LNP at the next election unless it altered direction with regard to protecting vital assets from mining and coal seam gas.

These assets included good farm land, underground water, the health and amenity of communities and important environmental areas.

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Unprecedented attack on independent science by Federal Resources Minister

Published: November 21, 2012

The Lock The Gate Alliance has called on the Federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, to resign after he attacked a new study on fugitive emissions from coal seam gas mining without having read it.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported comments by the Minister to an energy conference in Sydney on Tuesday, in which he described the scientists involved as ‘people who are trying to score political points without proper consideration of the best interests of the broader community’.

“The statements made yesterday by Martin Ferguson are an unprecedented attack on science and a disgraceful smear on the scientific integrity of Southern Cross University and its researchers,” said Carmel Flint, campaign co-ordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance.

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Environment Department must stand up to QGC on coal seam gas pipeline construction near Miles

Published: November 16, 2012

Lock The Gate Alliance and landholders in the Columboola Creek area south-east of Miles are calling on Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) Executive Director, Andrew Connors to stand by his recent public assurances that Queensland Gas Company (QGC) pipeline contractors would cross Columboola Creek, near Miles, using underground Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) rather than above-ground trenching operations.

Despite Mr Connors’ unequivocal public statement in the Chinchilla News (18th October 2012) that QGC’s Environmental Management Plan requires Columboola Creek to be crossed using HDD methods, the Department’s coal seam gas Manager, Ian Heiner, informed local landholders that QCLNG intend to undertake open trenching methods.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, condemned the divisive and underhanded tactics employed by QGC land liaison officers and contractors.

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Study Reveals CSG A Dirty, Polluting Industry

Published: November 15, 2012

A new study has recorded methane leakage from coal seam gas mining in the Darling Downs in Queensland at rates that may render it a far dirtier polluting industry than coal mining.

The researchers, Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher, used sophisticated new equipment to measure methane levels around the coal seam gas fields between Tara and Chinchilla. They also did comparison measurements outside the gas field. The results were presented at a public lecture at Southern Cross University in Lismore on the evening of the 14th November.

The study showed methane levels in the CSG areas as high as 6.89 parts per million, compared with background levels below 2 parts per million. The most likely source of the methane is leakage directly from the ground through cracks and fissures in the underground rock layers – something which the gas industry has never measured.

Currently, this whole class of fugitive emissions is not included in carbon accounting, but if gas companies are made to measure and pay for those emissions under the carbon price it is likely to cost them billions of dollars and render the industry economically unviable.

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