Stop Coal Seam Gas Mining!

Farmers all around Australia as well as urban communities are being threatened by the rapid and aggressive expansion of the coal seam gas mining industry. The Lock the Gate Alliance explains how bad this industry is for the environment, farming and health:

Exploration and production licences cover most of NSW and Queensland. You will discover that your legal rights are very limited; that the industry has a disproportionate influence over governments and that State and Federal governments actively encourage the industry with little or no regard for community welfare nor the health of the environment. Large parts of farming properties will be put out of production by CSG infrastructure.  The property’s value will fall. There are very few buyers interested in a gas-field property. Banks are already refusing business loans because of falling farm values.

Noise and infrastructure – Lots of heavy machinery is needed to drill gas wells. The costs of hiring drilling rigs means they must operate around the clock. Scores of heavy trucks will come and go each day carrying equipment and supplies and carting away toxic “flowback” water. A cement pad  covering approximately 1 hectare will be laid and a security fence installed at each well-head.  Pumps will operate and lights will be on continuously. Pipelines will be laid connecting each well-head to a main gas pipeline which will flow to very large and noisy compressor stations that maintain pressure in the gas pipeline and also separates out unwanted hydrocarbons from the gas which are then vented into the atmosphere. Many hydrocarbons are carcinogenic.

Your health and safety – There are many hazards involved with CSG extraction. CSG wells and pipelines are fire and explosion hazards. Over 50% of wells tested in Queensland leak methane. Many landholders have reported instances of methane in their stock watering bores and even household taps.

Investigations in USA have revealed serious effects from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals (eg uranium, lead, mercury) and other compounds naturally present in coal seams. These may be brought to the surface via leaks or in the associated water. Of the compounds typically released, 25% are carcinogenic; 37% affect the endocrine system; 52% affect the nervous system; 40% affect the immune system; and 100% affect the respiratory system. Many compounds affect several systems whether drunk in contaminated water or inhaled.

Water tables – CSG extraction poses serious risks to fresh water aquifers. The huge volumes extracted from coal seams can lead to major depletions in adjoining aquifers used for drinking water, agriculture, other industries and fire fighting. Aquifers may also be connected to surface water systems; fracturing and the chemical residues from fracking may cause potentially irreversible contamination to both ground and surface water sources.

Environment – The water taken from the coal seam is toxic and must be handled with extreme care. The dissolved salts permanently ruin good farming land the water  contacts, making it useless for agriculture or pastoral production. It is toxic to aquatic life if spilled into creeks or rivers. There is no reasonable or practical method of dealing with the vast amounts of saline water that will be brought to the surface.

Clearing of native vegetation for well sites destroys wildlife habitats and constant industrial noise scares away much of what remains. Weeds are introduced and  spread by hundreds of vehicle movements.

A methane leakage rate of 3% of total well production cancels out any emissions advantage gas has over coal. The latest research conservatively estimates a methane leakage rate of  3.6% – 7.9% of total well production. Over 20 years, this gives CSG a greenhouse gas footprint at least 20% greater than coal.

Join the Lock the Gate Alliance to show your support, sign petitions from your local community organisations, donate to GetUp! to get the message out to the broader community. We can stop this industry from destroying our environments, our livelihoods, our food and our health!

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