Sunday, 11 December 2011

Faith in government shattered

Although the government, Dart Energy and AGL have assured me that there will be no activity at Putty over the next couple of months my faith in the government to protect our environment has been completely shattered during 2011 and I will continue to check websites etc for changes.

PEL 460
Dart Energy’s renewal of PEL 460, the exploration licence for the southern part of the valley, is still being assessed. I was advised on 5 December that all exploration licence renewals are no longer granted by the Executive Director Mineral Resources but are granted by Chris Hartcher, Minister for Resources and Energy.

On 5 December, the department also advised that they have no applications for drilling activity in PEL 460.

A spokesperson for Dart Energy said ‘they have finished the rehabilitation of the core hole site’ which is located 500m from the Wollemi National Park part of the World Heritage Greater Blue Mountain area. ‘Checks over the coming months will ensure it is fully remediated. Samples taken from the core hole are still being tested and no activities are planned until a full assessment is completed, which should be in a couple of months time.’

AGL, the holder of the exploration licence PEL 4 for the northern part of the valley, has advised that they are not planning any activities at Putty for a number of years.

Regional Land Use Plan
Regional Land Use Plans, which all government departments refer to in their correspondence about CSG, ‘will deliver a balance between competing land uses in our regions.’

The plan for the Upper Hunter will not be on public display until February, March 2012. The public will have a month to comment and write submissions.

Should exploration licence renewals and approvals for core holes, pilot wells and production be made before these land use plans are in place?

Dart Energy
Dart Energy’s latest idea is to grow vegetables in a greenhouse at Fullerton Cove in a $65M project to show that CSG and agriculture can coexist. The project would be powered by gas and waste water would be treated then used in the greenhouse. No approvals for the project have been obtained to date. Will this announcement boost their share price which is .45c, the lowest it has ever been?

December 10, 2011 - Ministers back CSG national plan
Energy ministers from across Australia have agreed to draft a plan for dealing with coal seam gas (CSG) development by September 2012.

Australian Greens mining spokeswoman Larissa Waters said "The Greens would welcome consistency across the states in CSG regulation, but it would have to represent an increase in environmental standards."

"It is concerning that there is only one environment minister on SCER (the Standing Council on Energy and Resources), which is otherwise comprised of energy ministers who seem to believe it is their role to promote and not to regulate the CSG industry.

"We are also concerned at the pace of the work program, which wouldn't see any legislative change until at least 2013." Read more:

December 9, 2011 - Tests reveal contaminated water near gas site - Ben Cubby
THE state's first case of water contamination from coal seam gas drilling has been discovered in north-western NSW, according to independent tests.

High levels of ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, lithium, cyanide, bromide and boron were found around a water discharge point near a Santos coal seam gas operation in the Pilliga forest, near Narrabri. Read more:

December 9, 2011 - US implicates fracking in pollution - Ben Cubby
The US Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has implicated fracking - a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells - for causing groundwater pollution. Read more:

December 9, 2011 CSG protest continues at Gloucester despite company backdown
By Miranda Saunders
Protestors spent their fourth night blockading an AGL coal seam gas drilling site at Gloucester on the mid-north coast of NSW. They say they'll remain there despite AGL agreeing to suspend operations until an independently peer reviewed hydrogeological study has been completed and made public.

Chairperson of the protestors, Graeme Healy, says they're pressing ahead with a legal challenge to the project, despite the concessions. "It's a significant concession by AGL, but let's be mindful they haven't agreed to our fundamental demand for an independent ground water study,"

December 2, 2011 Warning on CSG Impact ‘Ignored’
INTERNAL advice to the Queensland government had warned five years ago that coal-seam gas development was dictated by misplaced "technological optimism" that environmental problems could be solved, when there was no way to assess the industry's "cumulative impact" on farming and water.

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