October 27, 2011


4 October 2011

The Editor
Lithgow Mercury101 Main Street

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


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".


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.
Julie & Chris
Lithgow Environment Group Inc.

Some very encouraging news and words.
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
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

M: 0404 824 020

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

Posted for President

October 18, 2011


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


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


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>
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
Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance

Posted for Fiona

October 11, 2011


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.