Victory for Gloucester
The box in the photo below - "STOP Gloucester" - can now be ticked. AGL has announced it is pulling out of its Gloucester operations. A great victory for the Stop CSG movement.
AGL issued a statement on Thursday 3rd February 2016 explaining their decision. They emphasised economic considerations. We know of course that the ongoing community opposition to the project was also a deciding factor but all that matters in the end is that it is over.
This brings to three the number of significant victories in NSW against CSG. The cancellation of PEL2, the Northern Rivers victory, and now the Gloucester win. The NSW Government must now realise that CSG has no future in this State and withdraw it's support for these projects. The media report it as a great victory for the opponents of CSG.
AGL intend to continue the Camden operations until 2023. This is 12 years earlier than planned, but is still not acceptable. The adverse health effects being caused in the area are serious and will continue while production is allowed so close to residential areas. The long running campaign at North Sydney will now be reviewed (at a big celebration day on Wed. 10th Feb.)
Meanwhile the campaign against the Santos project in the Pilliga continues, with a controversial event occurring this week. Media reports have come in that police used pepper spray on protesters in the Pilliga. The Sydney-based campaign continues on Fridays at 10.30 Pitt St and Reiby Place, near Circular Quay.
Badgeries Creek Airport
A grim prospect awaits the Mountains should the Badgeries Creek airport go ahead. While the lower mountains will be dramatically affected by the 24 hour a day flights overhead, there will be few Mountains areas that will miss out. Our peaceful habitat surrounded by World Heritage listed national park will be transformed. Submissions in their thousands will be needed if we are to have any hope of stopping this atrocity.
This Tuesday, 15th December, Blue Mountains City Council has called an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss the community's response to the Badgeries Creek Airport proposal. The meeting will be in Springwood, at the Community Hub, and starts at 7.30pm. Other activites are planned from 4pm onwards.
Be part of a community action to show the Australian Government that #westernsydneyairport just won't fly! Bring or make a paper plane at the Springwood Community Hub (Macquarie Rd Springwood).
Join us for a GROUP FLYBY AT 5PM for the camera. You can also visit the BMCC information stand from 4pm to find out more, make a submission on the spot and take a snap in our photo booth.
BE INFORMED, HAVE YOUR SAY & SPREAD THE WORD. #paperplanes
People's Climate Gathering - Springwood
On Sunday 29 November 2015 Stop CSG BM in conjunction with Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Transition Blue Mountains hosted a Mountains' People's Climate Gathering along with cities and towns all around the world on the eve of world leaders meeting in Paris for the United Nations Climate Summit.
Around 400 people attended the event, held outside the Springwood Hub. Photos from the day are here.
AGL, 100 Weeks of Protest
Wednesday 2 September 2015 marked the 100th consecutive week that community members from Sydney, Greater Western Sydney and Gloucester have protested at the headquarters of AGL Energy to say no to coal seam gas.
2015 Winter Magic
Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined other environment groups in the annual Winter Magic parade in Katoomba on Saturday 20th June.
Here are some photos from the day. Other photos can be found here.
2015 Election Forum Videos
Videos courtesy of Tony Markham. For more videos click here.
The election forum held on 16 February by Stop CSG Blue Mountains was a great success, with the Wenthworth Falls School of Arts filled to capacity. The crowd was entertained by Ecopella before hearing many fine speeches from a range of experts and local political figures, including the candidates in the forthcoming State election (with the exception of Local Member, Roza Sage).
Sunday: 15 February, 2015 - Wentworth Falls School of Arts.
More photos can be found here.
Metgasco challenged their suspension in court and won. However, the community say they will blockade again if necessary. Meanwhile the area elected their first Greens MP, Tamara Smith who won the seat of Ballina in large part due to the huge opposition to the Metgasco project.
Bentley Blockade Victory
Just prior to over 800 riot police being deployed to break up a blockade at the site in Bentley where Metgasco were planning to drill, the government suddenly announced the suspension of Metgasco's licence and the matter being referred to ICAC. It is not over but it is a great start. Find out more here.
The real risks of fracking
The United Kingdom's Chief Scientist has likened fracking to thalidomide and asbestos. The Guardian has reported:
Fracking carries potential risks on a par with those from thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, warns a report produced by the government's chief scientific adviser.
The flagship annual report by the UK's chief scientist, Mark Walport, argues that history holds many examples of innovations that were adopted hastily and later had serious negative environmental and health impacts. Read more ...
Mining Industry Gets a Boost
"The close relationship between the state government and the mining industry has come under renewed scrutiny after Premier Mike Baird announced faster mining approvals and harsher fines for protesters who illegally enter mining sites", reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Read more ...
Opposition to CSG still strong
Gas opposition shows no sign of cooling in NSW with 5,000 people turning out at a Lismore protest. Read more ...
CSG and the problem of recycled water
Midcoast Water, the authority charged with protecting the waterways in the Gloucester region, has come out strongly in opposition to AGL's plan to discharge recycled water from its coal seam gas project into the Avon River. Read more ...
Gardens Of Stone Win
The Planning and Assessment Commission have rejected Coalpac's two applications for extensions of its coal mining activities near the Gardens of Stone which, if approved, would have posed a major threat to this unique area.
This extract from their report encompasses the main reason for its rejection:
The Commission is not convinced that this small coal resource proposed to be extracted is particularly significant or necessary to the electricity market...The economic, short term employment generation and royalties from the extensions are outweighed by the environmental costs and impacts of the extensions.
The full report is here.
The Gardens of Stone have been saved and thanks to everyone who contributed to the hundreds of submissions received. It is a great win.
AGL has begun fracking in the Gloucester valley, the once tranquil agricultural environment and gateway to the World Heritage listed Barrington Tops. Groundswell Gloucester has been campaigning for some time against AGL's plans to drill 300 wells which could come as close as 300 metres from people's homes. They have now begun a blockade with some chaining themselves to gas rigs.
In Sydney around 200 people attended a rally in Angel Place outside the building where AGL were holding their annual general meeting. Shareholders entering the building were given information about such things as AGL's poor track record in NSW and the risk that investment in AGL poses. The local protesters were joined by a busload of Gloucester residents.
Gloucester needs help at the blockade around the clock and in door-knocking on weekends. If anyone can help for whatever time you can spare, please see here and register your intentions. Car pooling is being arranged.
Chief Scientist Reports
The NSW Chief Scientist has submitted her final report on CSG in NSW. It is a very cautious report written within its narrow terms of reference that has allowed both sides of the argument to use aspects of it to press their case.
The NSW government placed a temporary ban on CSG activity in the 'special areas' of the Sydney water catchment area until the report was received. The report has acknowledged that CSG activity could have "unintended consequences" but didn't even recommend against excluding water catchment areas specifically from CSG activity. Some backbenchers have been arguing that these areas should be permanently off limits.
Before the government makes any decisions based on the report, it is important that we make our concerns heard. Our Land Our Water Our Future campaign has picked up on the risks the Chief Scientist has identified and asked that we tell the government it should provide no-go zones.
Premier Mike Baird said this report would be the "line in the sand" on coal seam gas in NSW. Let's draw our line in the sand: protection of farms, forests, water, and communities.
Right now the CSG industry is spinning the Chief Scientist's findings and calling for a "green light" for drilling across the state.
Tell Premier Baird to take action to protect NSW.
Some points you may wish to make in your letter:
- The Chief Scientist recommends that coal seam gas extraction be limited to areas with appropriate geology and land uses. This means CSG should be banned from drinking water catchments, farmland and conservation areas.
- Communities in NSW should not be used as coal seam gas guinea pigs. If we don't know the consequences of CSG then we should not go ahead with it.
- The NSW Government and gas industry may be happy with risking our water supplies for a bit of coal seam gas but I'm not.
- The Chief Scientist's report shows that coal seam gas poses an unacceptable risk to our water, food and human health.
- Coal seam gas is being extracted for export. We don't need it and it isn't safe.
The Illawarra Mercury carried a good story on the issue and gives you the opportunity to respond in a poll asking if catchment areas should be protected from CSG activity.
Minister Rejects PELA 158
Anthony Roberts, Minister for Resources and Energy, has refused Petroleum Exploration Licence 158 (PELA 158) which covers a large swathe of the Blue Mountains.
The Minister released a statement claiming CEEMAC had not provided satisfactory evidence of matters required to be provided under the Act. His press release (available here gives reasons for the decision, but these are quite vague. What we do know is that CEEMAC would qualify as one of the $2 companies that the Minister earlier claimed he would crack down on.
What we also know is that an election is looming and that the Blue Mountains community flooded the Department with submissions opposing this application. Stop CSG Blue Mountains congratulates the Minister on this responsible decision and thanks everyone who did a submission.
Large Turnout for Hawkesbury Environment Network Stop CSG Meeting
The Kurrajong Primary School hall was packed on Sunday 10 August 2014 for the launch of the Hawkesbury Environment Network (HEN) Stop CSG campaign. The audience heard from guest speakers Nell Schofield and Peter Green, who explained the CSG threat to New South Wales.
The meeting was chaired by Danielle Wheeler from HEN and began with a Welcome to Country from Stacy-Jane Etal. The audience also heard from the talented Seamless Ukes, who performed a range of appropriate songs.
Listen to the speakers and singers:
- Stacy-Jane Etal, Welcome to Country:
- Nell Schofield, Sydney Co-ordinator with Lock the Gate:
- Peter Green, Stop CSG Blue Mountains and Blue Mountains Conservation Society:
- Seamless Ukes (listen):
- Seamless Ukes (watch):
Australia Institute on Coal and CSG
Held in Sydney on Monday 11 August 2014, with talks from Richard Denniss and Mark Ogge.
Listen to the speakers:
Stop CSG BM at Winter Magic
Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains marched in the grand parade at the annual Katoomba Winter Magic.
Heading up Katoomba Street (thanks to Paul Vale for this photo).
At the top of Katoomba Street
In Waratah Street
A collage of photos from the march can also be found here, courtesy of Tony Markham
Leard State Forest
Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined a large crowd that turned up for a snap rally outside of the offices of NSW Environment and Planning Ministers, Rob Stokes and Pru Goward in Sydney last Wednesday 4 June to protest the logging of the Leard State Forest. This ancient forest is being cleared for a mega open cut coal mine. The clearing is happening in winter when animals are hibernating and will be brought down with the trees.
Community feeling about the issue is strong. Over 25,000 people signed an on-line petition over just a two day period.
Photo by Paul Vale
Photo by Paul Vale
Information Session on CSG and Coal
The information session conducted on Sunday, 1 June 2014, by Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Stop CSG Blue Mountains was highly successful. The audience which packed the venue heard Tara Cameron talk about current coal mining licences and applications in the Blue Mountains' area and campaigns to stop them.
Peter Green discussed the CSG threats to the Blue Mountains and the numerous political obstacles campaigners face. Nell Schofield from Lock the Gate told us about the damage coal mining has done to the Sydney water catchment Special Areas and introduced the new Our Land Our Water Our Future campaign.
Many petitions were signed and people left with a lot more knowledge about the treats facing us and a resolve to stand up to the mining companies.
Lock the Gate Film Night in May
It was standing room only for the Lock the Gate Film Night in Katoomba on May 3. The audience was entertained by The Seamless Ukuleles and heard from film maker Rani Brown and from Holly Creenaune from Our Land Our Water Our Future. Peter Green, from Blue Mountains Conservation Society, and Sharon Wilkinson, from Stop CSG Blue Mountains, also spoke.
|The Seamless Ukuleles|
|The Seamless Ukuleles|
|The Seamless Ukuleles|
|The Seamless Ukuleles|
Gasland Part II Screening
Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains hosted a community screening of Josh Fox's new movie Gasland II at Glenbrook Uniting Church on April 12. The screening was a great success, with introductions from Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill, Stop CSG Blue Mountains Convenor, Jan O'Leary, and with a Q&A provided by Peter Green from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
Springwood Foundation Day
Stop CSG BM took part in Springwood Foundation Day on 5 April, marching in the parade and handing out leaflets.
To see more images from the Day, click here.
Trade negotiation threat
Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined a diverse crowd in Martin Place on Friday 29 November to protest the provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) being negotiated by the Abbott government. Show more (including photos)
The Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) provisions in this Agreement will give overseas corporations the right to sue governments in international tribunals if they can allege that a law or policy harms their investment. Attendees heard from speakers about the increased cost of medicines, the likely loss of tens of thousands of jobs, loss of Australian content in film and television as well as the inability of governments to regulate mining if the ISDRs are adopted.
|Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains at the TPP rally|
|Senator Lee Rhiannon addressing the TPP rally|
If the Federal Government agrees to these provisions (as they have indicated they might), the NSW government, for example, could be sued by the CSG mining companies for hundreds of millions of dollars over regulations, like the 2 kilometre no-go zones which have been imposed on CSG mining.
Over 60 law suits have already been issued to overseas governments under previous agreements, often where the regulations imposed were to protect public health or the environment. It may also enable the Federal Government to discipline states which introduce progressive social and environmental policy without intervention on their part. Click here for more details.Show less
How Local Candidates View Key Issues
Stop CSG Blue Mountains, Climate Action Blue Mountains and Permaculture Blue Mountains have asked the candidates in the Macquarie electorate for their responses to a number of key environmental issues. Show more
Attempts were made to survey all candidates standing in Macquarie. Responses were received by Danielle Wheeler (Greens) and Susan Templeman (ALP). Sitting Liberal member, Louise Markus did not respond despite numerous efforts to prompt a response. You can read their answers here and you can download a PDF version here.Show less
Submission on Mining
Blue Mountains Conservation Society's submission on the proposed amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy on Mining can be obtained here.
Water Catchment Petition
Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined about 200 protesters on 21 August for a rally outside of Parliament House. The groups endeavoured to present petitions to Barry O'Farrell containing over 13,000 signatures calling for a ban on all coal seam gas mining in NSW drinking water catchment areas. Show more (including photos)
It was thought appropriate for Barry O'Farrell to receive them given that he promised before he was elected
"The next Liberal/National Government will ensure that mining cannot occur...in any water catchment area, and will ensure that mining leases and mining exploration permits reflect that common sense; no ifs, no buts, a guarantee."
However, Mr. O'Farrell did not oblige. Instead Ryan Park, MLA from the Labor Party, Jai Rowell, MLA from the Liberal Party, Jeremy Buckingham, MLC from the Greens and Alex Greenwich, MLA Independent (pictured below) accepted the petitions. Jai Rowell tabled them in Parliament the next day - proving something of a thorn in the side for his Liberal colleagues.
|Presentation of the petitions|
|Jeremy Buckingham addresses the rally|
|Sharon Wilkinson from Stop CSG Blue Mountains addresses the rally|
|Protesters assembling in Hyde Park before the rally|
Rally in support of Bulga residents
Stop CSG BM members attended the Sydney rally held to support the residents of Bulga who are fighting to preserve their village from destruction by open-cut coalmining. Show more (including photos)
For more information on the Bulga issue click here.
|Some of the Stop CSG Blue Mountains contingent at the rally|
The rally was organised to protest the government's backing of Rio Tinto's challenge to the Land and Environment Court's decision in favour of the Bulga community. The community's win would prevent Rio Tinto from expanding their mine onto Bulga's doorstep and it has prompted the government to introduce changes to the planning policy to ensure communities like Bulga would never again prevail over mining giants like Rio Tinto. The rally was also to protest this major attack on democracy in NSW.
The Nature Conservation Council has described the proposed changes as follows:
They will tip the balance towards privileged interests by requiring decision makers to place mining profits above impacts on communities, water and existing businesses when assessing coal mining developments.
The changes will make it harder for decision makers to refuse polluting mining proposals if they meet minimum standards for noise, dust and vibration, yet give decision makers broad discretion to approve developments that exceed them.Show less
Getting the Message Out
Stop CSG BM members have been regulars at various Blue Mountains village events over recent months, making sure that the local community knows what's going on. Show more (including photos)
|Stop CSG Blue Mountains stall at the Lawson Markets|
Stop CSG BM got lots of cheers at the Winter Magic parade on Saturday 22 June 2013. Our yellow and black Lock the Gate colours made us stand out and our message got across to tens of thousands of people.
|The Winter Magic CSG message|
Large Turnout at Community Forum
The Springwood Civic Centre was packed on Sunday, March 24th, for the Community Forum and Q & A session on coal seam gas. It was an historic occasion in several ways. It was the last public function to be held in the current Civic Centre, before it closes for renovations. It was also probably the first time that speakers from all political persuasions took a common stand on an issue of such over-riding importance to the environment of the Blue Mountains. Show more (including photos)
The audience heard from a number of speakers:
- CAROL COOPER, Aboriginal Elder, Welcome to Country
- DANIEL MYLES, Blue Mountains Mayor
- DR BRIAN MARSHALL, Mining geologist
- Dr HELEN REDMOND, Doctors for the Environment
- JESS MOORE, Stop CSG Illawarra
- DREW HUTTON, President, Lock the Gate
Local poet, Greg North, attired in mining gear, read his famous poem Frackin Fricker. The forum was facilitated by Mary Waterford.A YouTube video of the film shown at the forum can be viewed here. The talks were also videoed and can be viewed on YouTube, courtesy of Tony Markham.
|Drew Hutton addresses the audience|
Town Crier Takes on CSG Industry
Members of Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains have called on the Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, to work to stop the $10 billion annual subsidies for coal and coal seam gas and take steps to stop the escalation of coal and coal seam gas (CSG) mining. Show more (including photos)
|The Town Crier at Louise Markus's office in Windsor|
|The Town Crier at David Bradbury's office in Penrith|
Local group at Western Sydney protest
A local Blue Mountains group recently attended the protest against CSG drilling in Western Sydney. Members of Stop CSG Blue Mountains travelled to Casula, near Liverpool, to protest against the proposed drilling of 66 CSG wells in Western Sydney. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell was speaking at a Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon and protesters gathered outside the function centre to voice their concerns about CSG. Show more (including photos)
|Stop CSG Blue Mountains members protesting at Casula by toasting the Premier with CSG-polluted water from the Nepean River.|
More photos can be viewed here.Show less
Historic decision at council
Blue Mountains City Council has voted unanimously to oppose coal seam gas activity in the Blue Mountains. At their meeting on Tuesday 27 November 2012 Council adopted a comprehensive motion against CSG in the Blue Mountains. The meeting was preceded by a rally of Stop CSG Blue Mountains supporters outside the Council chambers, many of whom then packed the public gallery at Council. Show more (including photos)
As well as voting unanimously to support the motion, Councillors also pledged to "man" the barricades to block the intrusion of any CSG activity within the Greater Blue Mountains area. Details of the motion.
|The rally at Council Chambers in Katoomba, just prior to the Council Meeting which unanimously voted to oppose CSG activity in the Blue Mountains.|
|Local songwriter, Denis Rice, performed his song, "Think Twice about Mining Coal Seam Gas", at the rally.|
National day of action
A large rally in support of Lock the Gate's National Day of Action was held on Saturday, 13 October at Glenbrook Park. Show more
Speakers included the following:
- Tara Cameron, Blue Mountains Conservation Society (MC for the rally)
- Dr. Brian Marshall, Geological scientist
- Jeremy Buckingham, GREENS MLC
- Suzie Wright, member of the Western Sydney Conservation Alliance
- Jess Moore, Stop CSG Illawarra
- Geordie Williamson and Mark Greenhill, Councillors on Blue Mountains City Council
- Greg North, poet from Linden (Visit Greg's own website)
- Noni McDevitt, Blue Mountains Renewable Energy Co-operative
- Kaine Johnson, The Wilderness Society
In a commentary on the Rally, Blue Mountains Conservation Society member, Craig Linn, wrote: "A highlight of the rally was the announcement by Green's BMCC Ward 2 councillor Geordie Williamson that he would put a motion to Council calling for BMCC to oppose Coal Seam Gas activity in the BMCC area. Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill then stated that such a motion would be supported by himself and other Labor councillors. Such support is most welcome and to be applauded."
You can read more of Craig's commentary .Show less