December 23, 2011

MARGARET RIVER SAVED (for the time being)

Another coal mine knocked back in W.A. because it posed a serious threat to local aquifers. It seems the truth is finally triumphing; permanent fresh water is more precious than coal.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/no-coal-for-wine-region-20111221-1p5jx.html

December 22, 2011

Glennies Creek "Ashton" Coal Mine Knocked Back || Newcastle Herald Editorial

While no doubt the decision will be appealed by the mine, it is significant, since it’s the first refusal under the new transitional arrangements (moving from the old “Part 3A” planning process. It is encouraging to see the Office of Water's experts being listened to. However, it is also obvious that the Dept of Planning (as in the bureaucrats) is very proactively pro coal mining and prepared to disregard health and water issues. I wonder why the department disregards environmental & health issues?
President.

GLENNIES CREEK MINE PLAN BANNED

Fears about damage to the Hunter River and the health of Camberwell village residents have prompted the NSW Planning Assessment Commission to refuse a coalmining application near Glennies Creek, outside Singleton
It is the second time the commission has refused a Hunter coalmining application, the first being the Bickham proposal, near Scone, which was rejected in May 2010.

...............‘‘The NSW Department of Planning and infrastructure made an addendum submission to the commission recommending the project be approved. [The commission] did not consider this submission in its determination process for the Ashton project,’’ the spokesman said.

http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/glennies-creek-mine-plan-banned/2401068.aspx

 NEWCASTLE HERALD EDITORIAL

The importance of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission's refusal of Ashton Coal's plan for an open cut mine near Glennies Creek can't be overstated.
It has the potential to be seen as the line in the sand that Hunter communities - concerned about a handful of proposals to mine land near rivers once considered to be off-limits to miners - have been asking the government to provide

http://www.theherald.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/mine-refusal-draws-a-line/2401329.aspx

(Thanks to the “Save Gloucester” team for the links.)

Posted for President

December 20, 2011

OBEID DEAL UNDER INVESTIGATION

From: Bylong Mining
Date: Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Subject: BVPA UPDATE - Obeid deal under investigation (Monday's Fin Review)
To: Bylong Mining

OBEID DEAL UNDER INVESTIGATION

Please see attached scan of an article in today’s Financial Review, reporting on Government investigations into the deal that saw Eddie Obeid’s purchase of “Cherrydale” in Bylong – and the start of the whole Mt Penny “saga”. Interesting stuff.


Posted for President

December 13, 2011

AUSTRALIAN MINING - THE REAL STORY

Here's a great video to counter all those expensive mining advertisements and tell the real story of coal mining and its impact on our environment.

December 6, 2011

Mine challenge fails

Mudgee Guardian : Mine Challenge Fails (30 November 2011)

Ulan Coal Mine may be required to offset its greenhouse gas emissions as a condition of approval for expansion, under a NSW Land and Environment Court ruling handed down last week.

Justice Nicola Pain last week presented her judgement on Hunter Environmental Lobby's appeal against the $1.2 billion Ulan West project, which will include a new 239 hectare open cut mine and approximately 25 square kilometres of additional longwall mining.

The group (which was assisted by the EDO) contested the State Government approval of the project on the grounds of climate change, the effect on groundwater systems and clearing of critically endangered vegetation communities.

The Hunter Environment Lobby is a member group of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, who welcomed the judgement.

The Council welcomed indications the Court will set a national precedent by requiring Ulan Coal to offset its greenhouse gas emissions.


To read this article, please click .

Posted for Vice President

December 3, 2011

WATER CENCUS OVERVIEW

Aquaterra's water census includes the following recommendations:

- Surface water gauging of major creeks in the project area should be conducted in consultation with NSW Office of Water.

- A Hydrogeology Study, Stage 2, should be undertaken after the installation of monitoring bores.

The Association has always maintained that a full hydrogeological study should be conducted before any drilling takes place. We encourage members and landowners to continue to argue for this study to be done. If drilling occurs, our water may be compromised.

The Association will follow up with NSW Office of Water to ensure it is involved with surface water gauging.

Centennial Coal claim to have "received an overwhelming response" to their water census, however they fail to acknowledge that the Association encouraged our membership base of nearly one hundred to participate in the census via newsletters and blogs, no doubt adding to that response.

To read the overview click on this link:

http://www.centennialcoal.com.au/images/stories/INGLENOOK_APRIL_INSERT.pdf

HOW THEY SEE US

A QUICK SEARCH OF CENTENNIAL COAL'S WEBSITE REVEALS HOW THE COMPANY DESCRIBES THE ILFORD/RUNNING STREAM COMMUNITY. OF INTEREST IS THE FACT THAT MORE PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYED IN FARMING AND EDUCATION THAN COAL MINING. ALSO OF INTEREST IS HOW THEY PLAN TO USE " SENSITIVE AND TAILORED MANAGEMENT" TO NEGOTIATE WITH US AND YET THE COMPANY REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR ASSOCIATION AS A 20 YEAR-OLD ORGANISATION REPRESENTING THE CONCERNS OF OVER 100 MEMBERS. WHY IS THIS?


2. THE COMMUNITY
2.1 DEMOGRAPHICS
The exploration area is rural and comprises the localities of Ilford, Running Stream, Razorback and portions
of Round Swamp and Clandulla. The land features undulating hills with cliffs and pagodas on the periphery
reaching elevations over 1000 metres above sea level [sic - add another 100m]. The hills are partially forested with land cleared for
grazing. The prominent feature of the landscape is the many water sources such as streams, creeks,
springs, soaks and dams that protrude on the surface. 
The area is located in the southern portion of the Mid-Western Regional Council LGA  and the northern portion of the Lithgow LGA.
Figure 3 - Panoramic view of the project area landscape
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2006 Census, the most common industries of employment
for persons aged 15 years and over, usually resident, in 2850 (Postal Area) which includes the locality of
Mudgee were Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Farming 8.1%, School Education 5.3%, Coal Mining 4.2%,
Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaway Food Services 4.0% and Supermarket and Grocery Stores 2.9%. The
most common responses for occupation for employed persons were Managers 18.9%, Technicians and
Trades Workers 15.6%, Professionals 13.6%, Labourers 13.4% and Sales Workers 10.9%. There were
3,878 families: 42.2% were couple families with children, 42.4% were couple families without children,
14.1% were one parent families and 1.3% were other families.
From the ABS 2006 Census for Ilford, the most common industries of employment for persons aged 15
years and over, usually resident, include Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Farming 27.4%, School Education
8.5%, Coal Mining 5.7%, Management and Related Consulting Services 4.7% and Cement, Lime, Plaster
and Concrete Product Manufacturing 4.7%. The most common responses for occupation for employed
persons were Managers 29.2%, Technicians and Trades Workers 22.6%, Labourers 14.2%, Clerical and
Administrative Workers 9.4% and Professionals 8.5%. There were 76 families in Ilford: 28.9% were couple
families with children, 53.9% were couple families without children, 17.1% were one parent families and
0.0% were other families.
Landholder Liaison Programme
July 2011 Inglenook Exploration Project – Landholder Liaison Programme Page | 5
From the ABS 2006 Census for Clandulla, the most common industries of employment for persons aged 15
years and over, usually resident, include Cement, Lime, Plaster and Concrete Product Manufacturing
14.0%, Coal Mining 12.0%, Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Farming 10.7%, Hardware, Building and Garden
Supplies Retailing 4.7% and Residential Care Services 4.7%. The most common responses for occupation
for employed persons were Technicians and Trades Workers 26.0%, Managers 24.7%, Machinery
Operators and Drivers 11.3%, Labourers 10.7% and Professionals 8.7%. There were 100 families in
Clandulla: 50.0% were couple families with children, 50.0% were couple families without children.
There are a significant number of landholdings that are owned by people not resident in the locality. These
landholdings are often used as weekend and holiday retreats. There are also a significant number of fifth
and sixth generational families with history that dates back to the earliest European settlement of the area.
The elders of these families have invaluable and extensive knowledge of history, the land, characteristics
and features of the localities in the Project Area. The extensive historical and experiential knowledge of the
area held by these locals is extremely valuable to both the community and the project and every effort
should be made to capture and record the information offered for posterity. The different history and lifestyle
motivations of different peoples manifest as different needs and concerns requiring sensitive and tailored
management by Centennial Coal.
In parallel with the history of agriculture in the area mining has also occurred for gold and precious metals
from the late 1800’s and coal mining from the early 1900’s. Exploration drilling activities to determine a coal
resource have also been undertaken since the 1980’s by the NSW Government and several companies. In
addition to the mining activity there are a number of existing leases held in the area for mining, petroleum
and geothermal energy.

Bullying the blind?

Sharon Munro has posted another telling story on her Blog. I'll post a few excerpts below - to read the full story on Sharon's Blog, click here.


Last Tuesday I and a bunch of other people from all walks of life and areas stood in hot sun outside Singleton Court House, or retreated to the shade behind for respite.

We held up home-made signs and chanted ourselves dry while the media recorded our anger and frustration: ‘No NuCoal!’ — ‘Save our Water, Save our Land!’ — ‘Enough is enough!’

Why were we there? Because inside that Court House, Jerrys Plains cattle farmers Ian and Robyn Moore were battling it out against NuCoal Mining, after unsuccessfully ‘negotiating’ with them since July 2010.


Ian is legally blind; he can only work his farm, inherited from his father, because he has known it for so long. He couldn’t cope with new obstructions like the exploration drilling, couldn’t move to another property and he wouldn’t be able to farm here, blind or not, if NuCoal happened to wreck his underground water sources.

 While the hearing proceeded, outside the building, speakers from other areas, like Deidre Oloffson (right) from coal-trashed Camberwell and Stuart Andrews (left) from coal-threatened Bylong shared their concerns. Hunter Communities Network’s Bev Smiles and Lock the Gate’s Drew Hutton kept the talk and the chants flowing.

To read the full story on Sharon's Blog, click here.

November 29, 2011

PROTECT CULLEN BULLEN FROM OPEN CUT MADNESS

 Approaching Cullen Bullen - recent photo

The little town of Cullen Bullen is surrounded by coal mines, including the hubristically named Invincible Colliery, all of which are leaving a trail of environmental destruction as they blow up mountains and destroy water systems in their quest to excavate the last remains of ancient swamps.
The coal in this area is a result of eons of photosynthesis by giant plants which stored vast amounts of carbon dioxide in their cellular structure and later in the earth under pressure. This is coal - a mineral dated at around 300 billion years old. Reversing the process of photosynthesis by digging up the coal and burning it releases the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. The problem is that this is being done in a matter of generations as opposed to the millennia it took to create. When the carbon was laid down there were no humans on the planet. Today we are over 6 billion of us pumping out 90 million tonnes of CO2 each day! And about half of that is from coal fired energy generation.
Species such as humans, which took over 100,000 years to evolve, cannot adapt to the radical changes we are making to our home planet. Coal kills. So why do we insist on persisting with this outmoded industry?
There are many of us fighting to turn the tide. including the Blue Mountains Conservation Society which has launched a campaign for at least one of the proposed coal projects around Cullen Bullen to be stopped in its tracks. Click below to read about it in the Lithgow Mercury:

http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/news/local/news/general/new-front-on-open-cut-protest/2362970.aspx

November 24, 2011

Outrage over coal seam gas well approval in drinking water catchment


The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has condemned the approval of a coal seam gas well within the Special Catchment Area on the Illawarra Plateau, saying it highlights the need for a moratorium on the industry.
 
The Planning Assessment Commission approved the drilling by Apex Energy under the old Part 3A arrangements despite concerns by the Special Catchment Authority that a future production field could see 150 coal seam gas wells in the area.
"The coal seam gas industry continues to roll out under the O'Farrell Government, highlighting the need for a moratorium on the industry," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
"This brings us a step closer to 150 coal seam gas wells draining aquifers and gas in the Special Catchment Areas that supply drinking water to 4.3 million people in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area.
"The government has a chance to correct this decision by voting for the Greens' Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill later this week.  
The Bill would put a 12 month moratorium on the industry and prohibit mining in the Sydney Metropolitan Area and Special Catchment."
The Planning Assessment Commission cites the government's pro-mining submission to the current Parliamentary Inquiry into CSG as a reason to continue to approve coal seam gas projects:
"The Commission carefully considered the NSW Government Submission to this Inquiry as indicating the present and possible future position of the Government on this matter.  The Commission is not aware at this stage of development of policy and regulation of [soc] any regulatory or policy constraints which would preclude exploration or extraction of coal seam gas in this area"
Jeremy Buckingham said: "Responsibility for coal seam gas drilling in this sensitive area now lies clearly at the feet of Premier O'Farrell and Minister Hartcher."
Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202  
or  0419 444 916

November 22, 2011

Mt Penny Coal Project Community Information Session

As coal companies proceed to march into the spectacular Byong Valley, their spin doctors will try to persuade the community that this is healthy progress. In fact, it means the destruction of the environment, good farming land and water resources. The coal exported from this pristine valley will be burned, adding to unprecedented CO2 levels in the atmosphere. 

Mt Penny Coal Pty/Ltd  is holding a  Community and Employment Information Session where they will tell you to dismiss your concerns about the planet and future generations and concentrate on the financial opportunity this presents to the current generation. 

So head along and ask some tough questions like what compensation will farmers get for loss of water.

When? Wednesday 23rd November, 2011 
Where? Kandos Returned Services Community Club 
20 Dangar Street 
Kandos
What Time? Drop in any time between 4.30pm and 8.00pm 
For more information contact:
 James McGuigan 
Project Coordinator 
1300 558 628
enquiries@mtpennycoal.com.au
www.mtpennycoal.com.au

November 11, 2011

Mining boom no longer boosting growth: study

The benefits of the mining boom have peaked and the federal government must abandon its commitment to a budget surplus by 2012/13, a new study says.

The Australian Economic Report, by Victoria University economists Peter Sheehan and Bob Gregory, says the boom will continue and mining investment will increase but their net benefits for the Australian economy have peaked.

''The boom is no longer boosting growth in the Australian economy nor contributing to additional improved welfare for Australian citizens,'' Professor Sheehan says.

''The positive effects of the boom have become more muted, while the negative effects are becoming more pronounced.''

The study says many new mining projects have limited local content and are foreign owned, giving little direct benefit to the Australian economy.

The shift towards offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) mining, which relies heavily on foreign-supplied equipment, and the high value of the Australian dollar are compounding the problem.

The economists say the high exchange rate has left local industries such as manufacturing, tourism and education vulnerable, threatening jobs and slowing the economy.

They urge the government not to depress the economy further by slashing spending in a bid to bring the budget back into surplus as planned.

''With the mining boom boosting the economy further each year, it made sense for the government to take $50 billion - equivalent to about one year's growth in GDP (gross domestic product) - out of the economy over two years to achieve a budget surplus in 2012/13,'' they said.

''But without the ongoing boost from mining and with the economy slowing this is no longer appropriate.''

They also said further reductions in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia may be necessary to boost spending and stimulate the economy.
 
Source: SMH November 10, 2011

November 8, 2011

Save the Barrier Reef - News from Getup

Breaking: tune in to ABC's Four Corners at 8:30pm tonight - and sign the emergency petition to stop the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef now.

Dear bruce,

If you tune in to Four Corner's tonight you'll see a truly shocking story about the destruction of huge swathes of our Great Barrier Reef. Not to spoil the plot, but... Millions of cubic metres of sea floor are being dredged up from the Great Barrier Reef to make way for massive new coal seem gas export facilities. No, we're not kidding.

It's the largest dredging project ever undertaken in Australia, and one that has the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) so alarmed they're warning the Reef could lose its iconic world heritage status. We've created an emergency petition to stop this. Sign here, tune in and spread the word now.

Go to this web site to read more and sign the petition
www.getup.org.au/dredging-the-reef
 
Source: CVA Blog 

November 7, 2011

Protecting Australia's Water Resources Amendment

On 1 November 2011, Qld Greens Senator Larissa Waters introduced the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia's Water Resources) Bill 2011 to the Federal Parliament. This amendment would give Federal government the final say as to whether a mining operation can take place and would take away some of the power from the states to do this. To date the states have been failing spectacularly to protect water resources, precious and scarce agricultural land, the natural environment, and the people who live in these mine-affected areas from rampant and destructive mining activities.

It would help to get the amendment passed if people wrote to politicians to support it. Following is a list of politicians to write to, and below that are some points you could make in your letter.

 The Bill and explanatory memorandum can be found here -

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=priority,title;page=1;query=Dataset_Phrase%3A%22billhome%22%20ParliamentNumber%3A%2243%22%20ChamberSource_Phrase%3A%22senate%22;rec=14;resCount=Default

The second reading speech can be found on p.45 of yesterday’s Senate Hansard -
http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds011111.pdf



Some points to make

1 Water is the most valuable resource our country has, and yet our scarce surface and ancient groundwater systems are under threat from significant and potentially irreversible impacts from the rash of mining operations expanding across all our states and territories. Inappropriate mining operations risk our environment, our food security, the viability of diverse agricultural activities, and the sustainability of the groundwater systems themselves – nationally important resources that do not respect state borders.
2 The federal government should have a regulatory role in managing the water impacts of coal and coal seam gas mining, and the flow-on effects those water impacts could have on the environment, food security and rural communities.
3 The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Water Resources) Bill 2011 will help to protect Australian water resources from mining by requiring federal assessment and approval for mining operations likely to have a significant impact on Australia’s water resources. This is an important safeguard as do date the state governments have failed to protect these precious resources.
4 This Bill complements the Landholders' Right to Refuse (Coal Seam Gas) Bill 2011 introduced by Senator Larissa Waters on 24 August 2011, which is designed to provide Australian landholders with the right to refuse coal seam gas mining activities on food producing land without prior written authorisation. This is an additional step which would help protect the 4% of Australia’s good quality agricultural land from inconsistent land uses and stop the mining industry continuing to ride rough-shod over Australian farmers.

Australian Government ministers


The Hon. Julia Gillard MP
(Labor, Prime Minister)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Mr Joel Fitzgibbon MP (Labor, Federal member for Hunter, which covers parts of Rylstone and Bylong)
PO Box 526
Cessnock NSW 2325
J.Fitzgibbon.MP@aph.gov.au

Mr Mark Coulton MP (Nationals, Federal member for Parkes, which covers Ilford and parts of Rylstone and Bylong)
Shop 3, 153 Brisbane Street
Dubbo NSW 2830

Mr John Cobb MP (Nationals, Federal member for Calare, which covers Bogee, Capertee, Glen Alice, Glen Davis, Sofala, Bathurst)
PO Box 673
Orange NSW 2800

The Hon. Simon Crean MP
(Labor, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
S.Crean.MP@aph.gov.au

The Hon. Tony Burke MP
(Labor, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au

The Hon. Martin Ferguson MP
(Labor, Minister for Resources and Energy)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Martin.Ferguson.MP@aph.gov.au

The Hon. Greg Combet AM, MP (Labor, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency)
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Email via contact form at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=YW6

Lithgow landscape - effects of coal mining and the proposed third coal-fired power station

 Have a look at this blog post from Sharyn Munro, commenting on the effects of coal mining and the proposed third coal-fired power station.


 "As the valley fills with dust and noise, the cliffs split and fall away and the filtering hanging swamps drain dry through the cracks from undermining, we must remind ourselves that all these operations are under ‘strict environmental guidelines’."... Read the rest of the post here.

Posted for Fiona

'Open Letter' from the Lithgow Environmental Group

'Open Letter' from the Lithgow Environmental Group to Centennial's recent response in the Lithgow Mercury.

Claims are incorrect - Centennial:
http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/news/local/news/general/claims-are-incorrect-centennial-coal/2337067.aspx

Open Letter
Centennial’s Environmental Credentials

The response by Centennial’s Katie Brassil (LM 27 Oct) to being fined $1.45million by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for damaging the environment, namely the swamps of the Newnes Plateau, is very disappointing.

Ms Brassil tries to make us believe that Centennial’s acceptance of the fine was to save the tax payer money (otherwise spent on a court case) and that “the changes to the swamps are related to the climatic conditions of the area. Well, to prove that point would certainly cost a lot of money.

Ms. Brassil’s statement that “we are committed to minimizing the environmental footprint in the area” has just this week been proven wrong with another case of ‘environmental vandalism’ when Centennial’s Springvale colliery was ‘crowned’ the second biggest mercury polluting operator in NSW (SMH. 22 Oct 2011).

To us it seems obvious that the mining activities under the Newnes Plateau change the hydrology of the area and with that the environment above. Swamps, plants and wildlife are irreversibly affected and the people of Lithgow will suffer from the changes in Lithgow’s water catchment area of Farmers Creek.

Thomas Ebersoll

Lithgow Environment Group

Posted for Fiona

November 2, 2011

 
SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS COAL ACTION GROUP NEWSLETTER
1 November, 2011

Dear Supporters,
Action is heating up across NSW regarding the contentious issues of
Coal and Coal Seam Gas mining. Politicians are being placed on notice
that communities will not tolerate uncontrolled expansion of these
industries with the impacts on our water resources, agricultural land,
the environment and landowners across Australia.
The pressure is on the NSW Coalition government to deliver on their
pre-election promises to introduce a Strategic Regional Land Use
Planning process, Aquifer Interference Legislation, Agricultural Impact
Statements and new Planning rules. Progress has been slow and the
jury is still out regarding the outcomes…but we can’t let the government
off the hook. In the meantime we have our own battles to fight on the
ground!


Watch Stateline at 7:30 on the ABC this Friday, 4 November
Producer Sharon O’Neill and the 7:30 team visited the Southern Highlands
this week and put together a story on our fight and the impact of Coal and Gas
mining activities on communities around NSW. This will be shown on Stateline
on Friday of this week.

OUR LAND, OUR WATER, OUR FUTURE Rally
To be held in Corbett Gardens, Bowral on Saturday 19 November
between 11am and 2pm. This is the biggest event of the year for SHCAG!
We’ve brought together a group of dedicated people who are leading the
charge in Australia in the fight against unconstrained and destructive Coal and
Gas mining.
The team will be led by MC Alan Jones and include Senator Bill
Heffernan, Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate, Tim Duddy from Caroona

plus distinguished speakers from the Southern Highlands and other affected
communities in Australia. Find out what’s in store for the Highlands if we let it
happen!

Hume Coal buys iconic properties in Sutton Forest
It has finally happened. Under the new front company “Aurelius Rural” set-up
by legal firm Blake Dawson Waldron on September 7 this year, our “open and
transparent“ miners led by Korean steelmaker POSCO have purchased two
properties in the heart of the coal lease. The properties are Wongonbra and
Carlisle Downs. It took quite a few phone calls and agitation before they finally
admitted that they were indeed behind the purchase.

Community Coal Reference Panel
SHCAG is an integral part of this panel set up by the Wingecarribee Shire
Council to review all activities associated with Coal and Gas mining in
Wingecarribee Shire. Deputy Mayor Larry Whipper chairs the group. Our
representatives include Alan Lindsay, Lynne Morrison (from Medway) and
myself.

Hume Coal approaching Landowners for Land Access in Sutton Forest
Hume Coal is continuing to write to selected landowners in the Sutton Forest
lease AUTH 469 seeking access to undertake exploratory drilling for coal.
WE RECOMMEND YOU TELL THEM TO GO AWAY AND LOCK THE
GATE.

YOU SHOULD NOT AGREE TO ANY LAND ACCESS AGREEMENT WITH
HUME COAL WITHOUT SPECIALIST LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE NOTIFY US.

Join NSW Farmers Association
The NSW Farmers Association led by new President Fiona Simson has been
a leader in the fight for fair and balanced laws relating to mining in NSW. They
need us to support them in their activities. Please consider joining. Call 1300
794 000
 
The Southern Highlands Preservation Fund
Thanks to all of you who have contributed to The Southern Highlands
Preservation Fund.
If you have yet to do so, please give generously to
protect the Southern Highlands. Make cheques payable to:
Southern Highlands Preservation Fund, PO Box 3380 Exeter 2579.
Or electronically to: Westpac Bank, Bowral Branch
BSB: 032716 Account Number: 298603

Volunteers
Thanks to all the VOLUNTEERS who are now helping at the markets and with
other activities. Please put up your hand up if you can. Virginia Brousse and
Kim Martin are coordinating volunteer activities. Virginia is away until early
November. In the meantime, contact Kim on 0412 443 142 if you wish to help.
Kind Regards
Peter Martin
Convener, Southern Highlands Coal Action Group.
pmartin@bigpond.net.au
Mobile: 0418 800 111

October 27, 2011

BAAL BONE REALITY CHECK

4 October 2011

The Editor
Lithgow Mercury101 Main Street
LITHGOW NSW 2790

Dear Sir/Madam
The decision to close operations at Baal Bone by Xstrata was purely based on financial reasons, not care for the environment or the fate of the 84 miners left unemployed.
The people of Lithgow and Australia need to realise that with about 83% of mining operations being owned by overseas companies that it is profits first and foremost. It’s wealthfare, not welfare. 
Perhaps when world shortages demand that Baal Bone re-opens it will re-open. Perhaps when our dollars weakens against world currencies it will re-open. Perhaps when the government is totally at the mercy of foreign companies, and our need for export dollars is so great, then longwall mining will be permitted under our national parks.
Why would Xstrata give up something that will only increase in value and, when coupled with a future lower exchange rate for the Australian dollar, will only add further value to their nest egg.
I think it’s time Australians realise how little control we actually have over our natural resources.

Guy Sim
Vice President
Running Stream Water Users’ Association

October 26, 2011

ALAN JONES AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB 19.10.11

Take some time out to listen to Alan Jones's speech at the National Press Club. It's a thorough monologue on the current state of the nation with regards to dangers of the unleashed expansion of the coal and coal seam gas industries in our country. 


As he points out this is the biggest issue facing the nation. 49.8% of NSW is currently under exploration licences and our food and water security is at stake. Governments may be broke but to quote Alan; "don't destroy farmers to pay bills".


http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL048F30D0DE7910B1

October 21, 2011

Labor opposed to open cut mining application in Cullen Bullen, NSW

From: chrisandjulie@activ8.net.au
To: bylongmining@craigshaw.com.au; runningstream2850@gmail.com
Subject: Fw: Labor opposed to open cut mining application in Cullen Bullen, NSW
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 06:31:29 +1100


Some very encouraging news and words.
cheers
Julie & Chris
Lithgow Environment Group Inc.


Some very encouraging news and words.
cheers
Julie & Chris
Lithgow Environment Group Inc.

Labor opposed to open cut mining application in Cullen Bullen, NSW


In a statement today in the Blue Mountains Gazette, the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Mr Luke Foley states that the ALP is "opposed to open-cut mining in the Ben Bullen State Forest".

Read the whole article below or go to this website: http://bit.ly/o6zw9W


"Labor opposed to open-cut mining application in Cullen Bullen NSW"

Blue Mountains Gazette
BY MICHAEL CLEGGETT
19 Oct, 2011 10:46 AM


The NSW opposition has come out against a controversial proposal to expand open-cut coal mining in the Ben Bullen State Forest (BBSF), north of Lithgow.

Coalpac has applied to the state government for permission to consolidate its Cullen Valley Mine and Invincible Colliery operations at Cullen Bullen, a move the Blue Mountains Conservation Society (BMCS) says will damage more than 1000 hectares of pristine bushland and unique rock formations, known as the Gardens of Stone.

Labor environment spokesman Luke Foley told the Gazette he would actively oppose the application.

“We’re opposed to open-cut mining in the Ben Bullen State Forest . . . I think that the conservationists have made the case that the Gardens of Stone has some unique biodiversity and geological characteristics that warrant environmental protection,” said Mr Foley.

A large portion of the land that would be mined if Coalpac’s application were approved by the Department of Planning is within an area the BMCS is campaigning to have declared a state conservation area (SCA). Mr Foley threw his support behind the push.

“We support the BBSF being declared a state conservation area. That would allow underground coal mining to continue, which we support, but would ban open-cut coal mining in that public forest,” he said.

Coalpac has previously argued that investigations in the area had confirmed underground mining was not a viable option.

Mr Foley said the environmental concerns outweighed any potential impact on employment.

“I think we need a balance [between jobs and the environment]. I’m a supporter of underground mining around Lithgow. I have good relationships with people in the Lithgow mining community, including the union, but on this one I think that Labor cannot support this application for open-cut mining in this area,” said Mr Foley “I note that the Lithgow Council, which has always been strongly supportive of the mining industry, has also come out against this proposal,” he said, referring to that council’s unanimous decision last month to oppose the proposed open-cut mining.

Coalpac’s proposal hit a snag in early September when the Department of Planning announced the company’s environmental assessment did not adequately address potential impacts of the project on biodiversity, Aboriginal cultural heritage, noise and air quality, and groundwater.

Coalpac will now have to prepare a new assessment before it is released for public exhibition.

...................
Justin McKee
'Gardens of Stone' Campaigner,
Blue Mountains Conservation Society
http://www.bluemountains.org.au/gos2.shtml

M: 0404 824 020

Twitter: twitter.com/bmcsnsw
'Like' us on Facebook: Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Posted for President

October 18, 2011

DEFENDING AND DIVINING


A great picnic was held on the banks of the Running Stream last Sunday to mark both the start of National Water Week and the National Day of Action to Defend Our Water. Joining thousands of people around the country who are concerned about the rapid expansion of coal and coal seam gas industries and their impact on our precious water resources, members and friends shared stories about the importance of water to our lives.

A group of Puggles Club members joined in the fun with a lesson in water divining. Trevor showed them how to search for "good quality permanent underground flowing water" by thinking hard about it as they walked across the land. Sure enough, their wire water wands all swayed across their chests when they crossed a certain point. Trevor then showed them how to find out how far down it was by asking the wand to tap once for each foot.  In this instance, 21 feet down.


The day also saw the discovery of a spring of sweet fresh water bubbling up from the ground with mint growing all around it (see Puggles blog). The water flowing from over one hundred springs on this mountain is irreplaceable and teaching our children about the importance of water is essential. Our bodies are largely made up of water - babies (77%), grown men (65%), grown women (58%) and older people (50%).

If coal mines were allowed to proceed in the area, this water system would be disrupted and possibly totally destroyed forever. Surely this is not the sort of legacy we want to bequeath to our kids?

October 15, 2011

CHANGE OF VENUE

Hi all.

We have had to change our meeting on Sunday to the Running Steam Hall.

We will meet there at noon and have a picnic behind the Hall at the junction of the two tributaries of the Running Stream.

We'll have someone posted at the original meeting spot to direct any stray friends.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

See you there!

October 13, 2011

LANDMARK CASE AGAINST CSG DEVELOPMENT SET TO BEGIN

Read what's happening in an area not so far from our own and if you happen to be able to attend the hearing in Sydney, it is great to be able to show your support of other communities in a similar predicament.

From: BGSP Alliance <bgspalliance@yahoo.com.au>
Date: 7 October 2011 10:53:54 AM AEDT
To: coal communities <coalcommunities@lists.nsw.greens.org.au>
Subject: [CoalCommunities] LANDMARK CASE AGAINST CSG DEVELOPMENT SET TO BEGIN
Reply-To: BGSP Alliance <bgspalliance@yahoo.com.au>

As you will be aware, in February the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) gave approval for the overall Concept Plan and Stage 1 development of AGL's coal seam gas project in the Gloucester-Stroud Valley.  The project is to extract gas from within an area of approximately 210 square km between Barrington and Stroud Road, to process the gas at a facility in Stratford and transport the gas via a pipeline of approximately 100km in length to a delivery station at Hexham.  In total the plan will include: a minimum 330 gas wells; gas and watering gathering lines, treated water ponds; salt evaporation ponds; water treatment plant; means of disposing of treated water; 15 megawatt power generation facility; connection to the electricity grid; access roads; temporary construction facilities and work camps.

The Gloucester-Stroud Valley's life depends on agriculture, tourism and life-style settlement.  Tourism is a particularly strong and growing industry.  Many in the community are deeply concerned that the proposed industrialisation of the valley will seriously harm or destroy its lifestyle and economic base.

In addition, the valley is particularly vulnerable to environmental damage by gas extraction because of the valley's unusual geological formation which has resulted in a complex pattern of geological faults and shears that create exceptionally high risks of gas migration and water table damage.

The Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance, with the support of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), has lodged an appeal in the Land & Environment Court against the project's approval.  The case will focus on the PAC's consideration of the environmental impacts resulting from the project.  Key issues are: risks to surface and groundwater quality and quantity when the gas wells are drilled; lack of data about groundwater impacts given the highly fractured geological structure of the the valley; uncertainty about the disposal of polluted waste water produced during the extraction process and uncertainty about the nature and impacts of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

These issues have widespread currency and concern and this will be a "Landmark Case" in the battle against coal seam gas development in Australia.

The case has been set for hearing in the Land & Environment Court in Sydney on 17, 19 and 20 October.  The EDO has advised that numbers of people attending the hearing has the potential to assist the case.  We are urging members of other communities that are facing the threat of coal seam gas development to come along and attend the hearings.  To have a packed court room on every day of the hearing will send a powerful message especially following so closely on the heels of the CSG National Day of Action rallies.  The Land & Environment Court is at 225 Macquarie Street and the daily court list is posted on the Ground Floor.

Graeme Healy
Chairperson
Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance

Posted for Fiona

October 11, 2011

REMINDER ABOUT SUNDAY

11.09.2011
DEFEND OUR WATER
A reminder that the Running Stream Water Users’ Association is marking its 20th Anniversary at the start of National Water Week 2011 by celebrating the vitality of the Ilford/Running Stream water resource.

In collaboration with many other community groups around the country whose water is currently under threat from coal and coal seam gas industries, the Association will recognise this special day by supporting the movement to Defend Our Water.

At noon on Sunday October 16, members and friends are invited to gather at the Running Stream Hall for a picnic at the source of Running Stream.

This day also marks the official launch ‘The Puggles Club’, a sub-branch of the Association for kids. For more information on the Puggles Club: http://pugglesclub.blogspot.com.

And for more information on National Water Week: http://www.nationalwaterweek.org.au/index.php Our event is listed under ‘Defend Our Water’. There are also important water facts to be found there such as this:

“Australia is the driest inhabited continent, with a limited supply of fresh water. Water must be used wisely if there is to be enough to meet the needs of future generations.”
With this is mind we continue our mission to protect our water resource from the impacts of proposed coal mining in the area.
Come and help us! Bring a hamper! We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information call Nell on 0413 746909 or Chrissie on 63588 531.

September 23, 2011

RSWUA LAUNCHES ‘PUGGLES CLUB’!

The Running Stream Water Users Association is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and we’re kicking off the festivities with the launch of the Puggles Club, a special sub-branch of the Association for kids!

The Puggles Club is a cool gang of kids learning about running streams and all the amazing creatures that play in them.

We all know how important running streams are, not just for us humans but for all living creatures. So we’re inviting young people to join us in our mission to protect them.

We’ve created an online activity area where club members can post comments and send in information about the many different animals they see in their own creeks and streams (http://pugglesclub.blogspot.com).

We’re also planning an excursion to the actual Running Stream above the village of Running Stream at the Gateway to Central NSW where we hope to spot elusive platypus and their baby puggles! Teaming up with the Association’s participation in the Lock The Gate Alliance’s National Day of Action to Defend Our Water, this excursion aims to highlight the valuable role that water plays in our lives.

Families are invited to join us at ‘Morven Park’, 6216 Castlereagh Highway, Cherry Tree Hill at 12 noon on Sunday Oct. 16th for a picnic at the source of Running Steam.

Please let us know if you and your family would like to join in the fun by calling Nell on 0413 746909 or Chrissie on 63588 531.

Looking forward to welcoming you all on board!

Here's a pic from our last excursion!


Posted for Nell

September 19, 2011

Inglenook Exploration Licenses

Dear Members
We have now had three meetings of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC), with apologies we haven't had the time yet to write up reports on the meetings.  (It's on the to do list!) However one thing we did get was copies of the Conditions of Exploration for each of the 4 licenses that cover the Inglenook Project (see Reference Documents). They appear to be the same for each, so even looking at just one will give you an idea. It is good to be familiar with them, because from experience with Ulan and Moolarben, it seems that it is up to the community to monitor and report any breaches. The EPA don't have enough staff to do it.
Happy bedtime reading!
Cheers
Jolieske

Posted for President RSWUA

September 15, 2011

A LETTER FROM OUR VICE PREZ



14 September 2011

The Editor
Lithgow Mercury101 Main Street
LITHGOW NSW 2790

Dear Sir/Madam
I am writing to convey my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the Lithgow Council for opposing the continuation and expansion of open cut coal mining by Coalpac in the Cullen Bullen district. (6 September 2011.)

That a company needs to resort to open cut mining in a State Forest to supply coal for domestic electricity production is proof that the greed driven mass exportation of coal by international mining companies is detrimental to our way of life. 

60% of the world’s coal production is by underground mining; in NSW this figure is a mere 36%. The rest is by open cut mining. (NSW Mineral Council data) This is also evidence of the neglect shown by the companies for flora and fauna, removal of oxygen producing plants (a double whammy for carbon emissions), water, agriculture, tourism as well as aesthetic appreciation of the unique Australian landscape. 

The biodiversity offset project by Coalpac is pathetic. Not only is it miniscule compared to the amount of carbon being unlocked by Coalpac, it can’t even begin to compete with the depletion of the forest in the areas being, and proposed to be, open cut. Deception?
A further sad note is that it was once a productive agricultural property now being used to grow a row of trees to mask the utter degradation of a unique State Forest.  Still that is better than the green shade cloth on the other side of the highway. More deception??

In the article, “Open cut is vital to their survival”, the authors only mention coal for the local power stations. Nowhere in the letter could I find any reference to the corporate objectives of Coalpac to:-
  • Commence export production by FY2012
  • Secure rail and port access for export and other markets

The above is from their own website. More deception and more greed!

I find it difficult to believe that Coalpac knew nothing of the underground fires in this area. I personally feel that Coalpac would or should also have known  and that a buyer beware clause was not included. Was their plan all along to cry woe and attempt to gain public sympathy for their “need” to now justify further open cut mining? More deception I feel.

The photo in the article is not reflective of the gravity of Coalpac’s requests for continued expansion of their open cut mining operations. To me they look more like the used car industry’s “Salesman of the year” nominees.  More deception??

Guy Sim
Vice President
Running Stream Water Users’ Association

September 12, 2011

WATER WARRIORS UNITE

(L to R: Michael McNamara, Julie McNamara, Jolieske Lips, Sister Patricia Powell, Sister Bernadette Evens)

A group of active members gathered in the Running Stream Hall last Friday night to hear from several passionate speakers concerned about the destruction of our land by coal and coal seam gas companies. Michael and Julie McNamara from the Northern Rivers Guardians and the Lock the Gate Alliance presented a slide show detailing the extent of land in New South Wales (approx 30%) currently under Coal Seam Gas and Petroleum Exploration Licences, including vast tracts around the Mid-Western Regional Area. They pointed out that the state government receives 10% in royalties from mining and nothing from agriculture, hence its disproportional support of the industry over farming. Unlike farmers, who pay the government to use water for irrigation, these fossil fuel industries take it for free and pollute it in the process.
The McNamara's dismissed the argument that these industries provide important  jobs for communities by saying that only about 150,000 people work in mining compared to more than 500,000 in agriculture. And when farming land is destroyed and the aquifers damaged and polluted,  agriculture can no longer operate there. The couple are calling for a moratorium or even a Royal Commission into the coal and coal seam gas industries until an independent assessment of their impacts has been properly conducted.
 Following declarations from locals about the stress that they have been experiencing due to Centennial Coal's recent low flying helicopter surveys, Sister Patricia Powell from the Bathurst Sisters of Mercy gave an inspirational talk entitled 'Spirituality for Planetary Citizens'. She explained how the story of the Big Bang had deepened her faith. "It beats the creation story in the Bible," she said, "It's awesome!". The New Universe story alerted her to the fact that human beings are an intrinsic part of the incredible life system of the planet but because of our greedy and selfish actions, that system is now under threat. "I am the planet become conscious of itself," she explained; "God is at the heart of me and of every leaf on every tree, and in every river."
Sister Patricia practices her beliefs at the Rahamim Ecological Learning Centre, which is attached to St Joseph's Mount in Bathurst (www.rahamim.org.au). She believes that the first work to be done is remedial - healing the planet of the damage that humans have inflicted upon it. Then we need to "imagine a future where our institutions are built on a new world view", one in which we respect and nurture ourselves and our environment as an interconnected system. "We have the capacity to create a new reality", she concluded. Let's start creating it!

ADVICE FROM LOCK THE GATE


 It's time to abandon the old thinking and start working on some strategies that will actually protect good agricultural land from destruction by Coal and Coal Seam Gas. Here's some suggestions:

(1) Start a consumer boycott - Which Coal Seam Gas companies have retail customers? Tell their customers to cut off their gas or choose a different source for their gas or change their gas provider to someone who doesn't sell Coal Seam Gas.

(2) Mount a legal challenge - If a Coal or Coal Seam Gas company is giving you grief, wait till they take you to court. If only a hundred people did this to a Gas company their resources would be so stretched they'd have to capitulate. If a thousand people did it they'd be out of business. You don't need a lawyer and Barrister. Just represent yourself as people do everyday in court around the country.

(3) Work on a political campaign - The election is on the way. Each electorate has to vote for a local member. Choose a person from your community who is a good leader and ask them to stand in the election. Vote for them. If a dozen communities do this the major political parties will be forced into a minority government that is controlled by your local members who don't want Coal or Coal Seam Gas.

(4) Civil Disobedience - Just say yes to clean food and water and no to Coal Seam Gas. Lock Your Gate, blockade Gas company trucks, protest in the main street of your town. It's our land, our heritage and our future. The future is not Coal Seam Gas. Don't be afraid to stand up for what is right in the face of stupid laws and a corrupt government.

(5) Shareholder activism - Buy a share in each coal and gas company and write to the Directors. Show up to the AGM and protest. Get a hold of the share register (it's free) and write to the shareholders. Show up at the Directors houses and protest out the front.

(6) Don't be afraid to tell everyone you know that your life is being made hell by coal and gas companies and that if they don't get off their selfish arses and help you, they'll be next.

There's no time left to spend on feelgood stuff. The time for politeness has passed. It's now the moment to get cracking on winning this fight by thinking laterally and showing some guts in the face of adversity. It's time to show up the politicans as liars who care about revenue ahead of constituents.

As Mark Twain said, you'll regret more the things you didn't do, than the things you did.


September 10, 2011

Australian Human Rights V's Coal Seam Gas

ALL ORGANIZATIONS. PLEASE MAKE THIS A CHAIN MAIL

ALSO CUT AND PAST AND...

send to "Attonery General Robert McLelland"



URGENT: Greetings Robert McLelland,

I am proud of Australia and what we have made it today since the pioneer days in the early 1800's. We are the "Lucky Country".

There is a massive growing movement against Coal Seam Gas Exploration and Drilling in Australia.

You would know that a great amount of organizations are being formed daily against this invasion on our soil in Australia. The everyday person once informed of the practices of this industry are hugely opposed to CSG entering at all and profiting at our expense.

We have just been awarded in Melbourne as the most liveable city in the World. With Sydney and Brisbane being in the top 10? I say absolutely well done to your department, government and our system and the people of Australia, every one of them.

My question fundamentally is why are we changing what is currently a working framework? We are presently a great example for the rest of the world!

Why then I ask, do we have to ruin this? Why then do we have Coal Seam Gas Drilling here on our continent? Can we have an early election? This issue will change how people vote most definitely.

My thoughts are that we will collapse our excellent food, water, tourism and health sectors and overload to breaking point our many charitable organizations in 5 years if CSG continues. I know, and I think you do to that this is not worth allowing and should be stopped immediately. Can we afford to import all our food and water? Many of us will die.

There is no return from this scenario. No plan to clean up the damage. I am advised that there is around an estimated 49% of gas available underground that International Mining CSG companies want to extract for profit to send to China and India and wherever else in the world. Abbott Point in North Queensland for example has a 99 year lease of crown land just granted in North Queensland. This is not very public information but a controlling factor in exports also.

There are plenty of documented cases in America of the health issues and environmental damages created by the current practices of CSG extraction. Will there be a huge class action legally in the future from the citizens of Australia against the Australian Government for negligent action and non transparency? I think so.

I am desperately begging that you consider this issue, please save what we are so lucky to have today. Please save our future and take action.

Please step in and cut the red tape, all contracts relating to CSG and export agreements to other countries, address parliament and advise every citizen of Australia urgently the direction that will save the paradise that the rest of the world considers Australia is.

I leave it in your expert hands as to whether an early election is a viable solution. I leave it in the hands of you and your department to help preserve Australian soil and citizens lives.

I believe you must take action NOW.

Your most sincere and concerned resident of Australia
 

Source: Lock The Gate Alliance <info@lockthegate.org.au>