‘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
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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."
Pilliga Scrub: ‘destruction as far as I
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
‘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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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