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Coal Seam Gas


‘It’s a powerful time out in the Pilliga at the moment, with many people coming together from across the region to protect this place from coal seam gas mining’
Gomeroi elder Maureen Sulter

Welcome to Coal-Seam-Gas.com where we provide the opportunity for Citizen Journalists to publish their stories from around the globe.

Latest news and photos from the Pilliga blockade

Citizen Journalist reports on Facebook 2013-11-14 "There were more police in Pilliga than citizens on Thursday - they sent the police sniffer dogs into the high school to go over the kids."
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Pilliga Scrub: ‘destruction as far as I could see’
November 15, 2013 - Some groups of anti-CSG activists are visiting the Pilliga to support forest protectors there and see first hand what damage was wrought by the now-infamous spill of wastewater into the pristine Pilliga Scrub.

Byron Environment Centre (BEC) co-ordinator David Saunders spoke to the Echonetdaily

‘I have been finding when working the BEC kiosk I am asked for updates and info on CSG so much that I felt I needed to visit sites including the Pilliga and gather firsthand knowledge,’ Mr Saunders said.

‘I was shown an area consisting of hectares of former forest land where a CSG tailings dam overflowed after a rain event.

‘The area affected by the spill is completely dead now: all trees dead, all wildlife gone, not even a single ant to be seen.


Photo by Byron Environment Centre (BEC) co-ordinator David Saunders

‘It looks like a nuclear accident site, very frightening, and these are from just test wells on a small scale.’

'Age-old and very toxic substances like fungi, heavy metals and other unknown pollutants that are disturbed by the CSG extraction process and are flushed into huge tailings dams’.

‘The evidence I saw and photographed of the now desert-like landscape from the spill says it all. CSG mining isn’t safe and is insanity. A great area of Australia is siting above the Great Artesian Basin; it may only take one spill like I saw to ruin our beautiful country,’ he said.

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Santos spends $17M on Pilliga spill clean-up

24 Jun 2013 - ABC - Coal seam gas explorer, Santos, says it's spent $17-million rehabilitating contaminated coal seam gas water spills in the Pilliga State Forest.

The toxic leaks occurred two years ago when Eastern Star Gas was the operator.

The state government has announced it's launching a prosecution against Santos in the Land and Environment Court over the spills.

Santos' Manager of Environment and Water, Alan Feeley, has told the ABC's 7.30 NSW:

"No, I wouldn't say the damage is significant, I would say it's very unacceptable practice, but in reality we're talking about 3.5 hectares in the Pilliga out of 500,000 hectares with salt in it," he said.

"It's been described as a toxic waste but, to be realistic about it, that was comparing the guidelines to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and no one drinks black water out of a puddle in the forest to my knowledge."

______________________________________

Santos cleared to drill eight coal seam gas wells in Pilliga

September 18, 2013 SMH - The NSW government has said it approved Santos drilling eight exploration coal seam gas wells in one of the biggest remaining temperate woodlands in eastern Australia, provided ''strict'' environmental conditions are met.

Santos won approval to drill two sets of four wells in the Pilliga Forest in north-west NSW in August with details only made public in recent days. The company also secured approval for stage one of its water management project.

Environmental groups, such as the Wilderness Society, queried how the same arm of the government taking Santos to court on Friday over the spill in mid 2011 of waste water from the nearby Bibblewindi water treatment works could give the nod for further drilling in the area.

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Barnaby Joyce to sell property to avoid CSG 'conflict of interest'
August 25, 2013 - SMH - Nationals representative for New England, Barnaby Joyce's has intrigued many of neighbours with his purchase of an unlikely property on the edge of the Pilliga.
Denis Todd, a farmer from nearby Baradine and a Warrumbungle Shire councillor, recalls a conversation he had with Joyce at a petrol station in about 2009.
''I asked him, "Why did you buy that mongrel country out there?'' Todd says.
According to Todd, he asked Joyce if he had bought to take advantage of the coal known to run throughout the Pilliga. Todd says Joyce responded:
''The coal's too deep but there's plenty of gas there.''

''I don't know whether he bought it because of coal seam gas or what".
________________________________________

It does appear that Coal Seam Gas is entrenched in the National Party.

John Anderson AO was Leader of the rural-based National Party of Australia from July 1999 to July 2005.

Following his retirement from politics, Anderson became Chairman of Eastern Star Gas Limited - the majority shareholder of the Pilliga coal seam gas exploration license until they sold it to the then minority shareholder Santos in 2011.

Anderson's friend and colleague, Barnaby Joyce purchased his first Pilliga property in 2006.

Despite making noises that he was going to sell these Pilliga properties to avoid perceived conflict of interest with his agricultural portfolio in government, apparently Joyce is yet to sell.

This article was obviously written before the news yesterday that the NSW Environment Protection Agency is investigating yet another spill of fracking waste water at the Pilliga. There have been at least twenty such spills there - although this latest one will be difficult for Santos to blame on the previous owners.

By the way, Anderson was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly through support of rural and regional communities and water management initiatives.

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