The Lock the Gate Alliance has renewed calls to ban hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') in the coal seam gas industry in the light of a recent study in the US into the quality of drinking water that is in close proximity to gas wells.
The peer-reviewed study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by four scientists at Duke University. They found that the methane, which was the same type as that being extracted from hundreds of metres underground, was present at dangerous levels in nearby tap water. They concluded that this gas was finding its way into aquifers from which drinking water supplies were obtained.Read more
The Acting President of the national Lock the Gate Alliance Drew Hutton has given warning that the direct action seen in Queensland in recent weeks against the coal seam gas industry will be used in New South Wales if the O'Farrell Government maintains its support for coal and coal seam gas mining in the Gloucester region.
Mr Hutton, has been visiting parts of New South Wales in the last few days, including Gloucester where he met with representatives of local community groups and explained that a number of communities in Queensland had "locked the gate" on mining companies – Felton, Gowrie Junction, Scenic Rim, Kingaroy and Drillham, just to name a few – and the Western Downs Alliance had recently blockaded an attempt by QGC to bring a gas pipeline onto a residential estate near Tara to connect up several gas wells.
"This is the sort of action communities take when governments fail them," Mr Hutton said.Read more
The blockaders at the Tara residential estate claimed a victory today in their campaign to stop QGC (British Gas) from building a pipeline on to their estate.
The police have packed up and left, telling the protest group this was a "civil matter now". QGC have stopped all work on the pipeline.Read more
Drew Hutton, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth and leading campaigner for the national Lock the Gate campaign, was arrested this afternoon.
In a heavy-handed police action, forty police moved on to private property to shut down the blockade camp on a landholder's property.
The landholder was unhappy with his treatment by the gas company and had invited the blockaders onto his land.Read more
A 70 year-old great-grandmother was the first person to be arrested at the Tara blockade.
A large police contingent was present at the site, including the public order response team, mounted police and plain clothes detectives.
June was arrested when she refused an order from a plain clothed policeman to move while she was blockading a large bulldozer from entering the QGC site at Kenya.Read more