Thursday, 28 November, 2013. Gas Watch 229.
AGL - still spinning the figures.
“More than 50% of people in Gloucester and surrounding areas said there were benefits to having
AGL Energy operate in the region, a community survey has found.” *
• The small print in their media release says that only 200 people in Gloucester were
surveyed by telephone in early September.
• The population of Gloucester LGA is 4,877.
• 94 people, or 1.9% of the population, said that thought they would be able to obtain
Well good luck with that.
Electricity and gas prices are already soaring, the gas price because of the CSG
industry entering into the export arena.
• 83 people, or 1.7% of the population, said that there would be employment
• 73 people, or 1.5% of the population thought it would bring money into the region.
• 23 people, or 0.5% of the population, reckoned they would see improved
( see all in Gas Watch 229 ).
Monday, 24 November, 2013. Gas Watch 228.
AGL - now pumping salt onto agricultural land.
Hullo, AGL! A shandy of fresh water and salt water doesn’t reduce the
amount of salt going into the soil. The same amount of salt is still there.
AGL issued a media release last week, crowing that it was irrigating cattle feed crops with
salty water from coal seams.
AGL says that it is blending good fresh water with salty coal seam water to irrigate its
Salty water used for irrigation results in soil salinisation rendering it unfit for raising most
crops and plants.
And what does the process of increasing the salt content of soil do to the soil? As the soil
salinity increases the consequences include:
• Destruction of soil structure;
• Detrimental effects on plant growth and yield. The plants use the water and the salt
is left behind;
• Damage to infrastructure (roads, bricks, corrosion of pipes and cables);
• Reduction of water quality for users, sedimentation problems;
• Soil erosion ultimately, when crops are too strongly affected by the amounts of salts.
( see all in Gas Watch 228 ).
Wednesday, 20 November, 2013. Gas Watch 227.
AGL - wants land in protected winegrowing
regions made available for CSG drilling and fracking.
Santos - agrees that if a farmer says “no” they will go away.
Santos CEO David Knox says that it is important for farmers to be given a choice saying that
Santos will not be seeking to drill for coal seam methane gas where landholders say “no”. “Under this company I operate, if you don’t want me on your land to drill a well, I will not be coming.
I will work with farmers who do want me on their land, and I think it’s very important that people are
given that choice” he said.
This Santos approach mirrors announcements by Prime Minister Abbott. We hope that Santos
does what it says it will do.
AGL, however, takes the opposite approach and has forced itself on the farmers of Gloucester
through the Courts.
AGL has also announced that it is seeking that the properties it has bought in the Broke and Bulga
wingrowing region be exempted from the protected viticulture Critical Industry Cluster and made
available to them for unconventional coal seam methane drilling and fracking.
( see all in Gas Watch 227 ).
Tuesday, 5 November, 2013. Gas Watch 226.
The “Size of the Prize” to become the paramount consideration for mining approvals.
This week THE NSW government will implement controversial amendments to planning laws to
prioritise economic considerations above all social and environmental factors when considering
mining and CSG projects.
The Resource Significance SEPP, about to be gazetted, has been rejected out of hand by
everyone either involved in agriculture or who cares for our environment, and should be rejected out of hand by anybody
who wants to have a secure Australian food supply in the future.
“The changes outline key factors that decision makers must consider when establishing the significance
of the mineral resource – namely the benefits that will flow to the economy via local job creation, regional
expenditure and State royalties," Minister Hartcher said.
This is an absolute disgrace. It encourages big mining companies to open cut good agricultural land,
without community support; without reference to existing agricultural industries, including wine tourism;
without reference to environmental or social considerations; without consideration to existing businesses;
without considering basic cost benefit analyses
( see all in Gas Watch 226 ).
Thursday, 3 October, 2013. Gas Watch 225.
AGL claims: “New gas sources needed to maintain price.”
“This is nothing but industry spin.”
AGL in a press release today makes more outrageous claims in relation to the coal seam methane gas industry.
(See Mike Moraza: "New gas sources needed to maintain price" ).
Amongst other things AGL spins:
1.“Coal seam gas is literally just natural gas drawn directly from coal seams”–
WRONG. It is methane gas drawn from coal seams, unconventionally and often using the contoversial fracking technique,
through fresh water tables. Released into the environment during the process is Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium,
Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Chromium, Copper, Fluoride, Formaldehyde, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Oxides of Nitrogen,
Particulate matter 10 um and 2.5 um, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds.
Dr Stuart Khan
in a submission
to the NSW parliamentary enquiry into CSG that
“drilling through aquifers, impervious rock and coal seam(s) risks “interconnecting”
otherwise confined aquifers. In such circumstances, aquifers holding large volumes of pristine water can
be contaminated by mixing with other contaminated waters.”
( see more in Gas Watch 225 ).
Friday, 20 September, 2013. Gas Watch 224.
AGL attempts to buy community support.
AGL should be earning respect, rather than trying to buy it.
• AGL tried to sponsor the Singleton Outstanding Business Awards, but its sponsorship was
rightly rejected by the Chamber of Commerce.
• AGL tried to sponsor the hugely attended Broke Village Fair, but AGL was roundly rejected
by the community and AGL’s cheque returned to them.
• AGL has somehow bought naming rights for the 2013 Singleton Show this month and it is
now, unfortunately, called the “AGL Singleton Show.” A gross embarrassment for the
• AGL Energy is now offering local primary schools cash donations in its efforts to buy
community support….Kirkton Primary and Broke Primary we know of, both in the Hunter
Valley, both in the CSG exclusion zones.
( see all in Gas Watch 224 ).
Wednesday, 18 September, 2013. Gas Watch 223.
Resource Minister Chris Hartcher wants to change the accurate name “unconventional coal seam methane gas”
or “CSG” to “natural gas from coal seams”.
Great shades of George Orwell’s 1984.
This is just another O’Farrell Government attempt to dilute the CSG argument and make the CSG industry sound safe.
It’s the same old industry, the same old CSG, same old risks.
Is it true – or is it just a joke from the “Ministry of Truth”?
It is being taken so seriously on Facebook* that it is wondered what other phrases could be changed to improve how they sound, eg:
Bank Robbery = inadvertent hostile currency depletion;
Car Crash = spontaneous crumple zone evaluation;
Coal = natural solid from coal seams;
Petrol = natural liquid from oil deposits;
Wood = natural solid fuel from old growth heritage forests.
As one contributor says on Facebook – adding “natural” doesn’t make it safe or its extraction environmentally safe. We agree.
( see all in Gas Watch 223 ).
Wednesday, 11 September, 2013. Gas Watch 222.
Hunter residents are at serious risk of lung disease and
cancer as dust levels reach record levels.
This must be a new record for filthy air in the Hunter.
The residents of the Hunter were forced to breathe filthy air on 1st September at 3 am when
the P10 dust particles in the air reached 348.1 micro grams per cubic meter.
And we’re effectively unrepresented by a Government which appears to be waiting for
victims to emerge before it acts.
Will you or your children be the first victims? Research says it is only a matter of time.
With all the evidence before him, what on earth could Barry O’Farrell say if it does come to
This is a physical assault on the people of the Hunter Valley.
100 is considered by the EPA to be Hazardous to the health of humans and animals.
300 is described by medical professionals as “extremely dangerous to lungs
and may even cause cancer induction”
( see all in Gas Watch 222 ).
Friday, 6 September, 2013. Gas Watch 221.
Everyone now agrees it will happen –
All that is now needed is for NSW to enact the law preserving
the vineyards from coal seam methane mining.
1. AGL Energy now accepts that CSG activity will be excluded from critical
2. The community has been promised by the O’Farrell Government that
these exclusion zones will be made law, and accept that this will happen.
3. The Federal coalition says farmers have the right to say “no.
4. All stakeholders now accept it is going to happen.
Both the community and AGL are now on the same page in relation to having the vineyard areas excluded from CSG activity.
AGL Energy accepted in its financial report released this week that the viticulture and thoroughbred Critical
Industry Clusters will be excluded from coal seam methane exploration and mining activity, by slashing its
Hunter gas project’s book value from over $200 million to just $10 million
( see all in Gas Watch 221 ).
Tuesday, 27 August, 2013. Gas Watch 220.
100 official “health alerts” for dust levels in the 239 days of this
For almost half this year the people of the Hunter have been
breathing air which is damaging their health.
Again suspicion arises that the coal mines are polluting in the dead
Yesterday the wind was light, the dust during the day was within acceptable levels, even into
single digits (5.1 micrograms of P10 dust particles per cubic metre at 2 pm).
But in the wee small hours the dust levels went from safe levels to “HAZARDOUS” levels.
3 am – 173.9 micrograms of P10 dust particles per cubic metre (anything over 100 is
“hazardous to the health”).
4 am – 109.6., 5 am – 134.2. !!!
( see all in Gas Watch 220 ).
Wednesday, 21 August, 2013. Gas Watch 219.
Barry O’Farrell’s new “user pays” democracy.
In an extraordinary move, the man elected to represent the
community has instead decided to take them on head first in the
Supreme Court, and make them pay for trying to protect the health
of themselves, their children and their environment.
Quite unbelievably, Barry O’Farrell has sent in Minister Brad
Hazzard to fight on the side of the mines AGAINST the community.
That’s right, AGAINST the community which elected him.
In his fight against the residents of the Hunter village of Bulga,
Premier Barry has asked Minister Brad to seek a Supreme Court
costs order* against those good people.
The people of Bulga took on the mining giant Warkworth Mining (Rio Tinto) in the Land and
Environment Court and won, protecting their village from imminent destruction by the dramatic
increase in size of the nearby coal mine...
Premier Barry is sending a clear signal to those trying to protect their own children and the
environment against potentially catastrophic health effects by making them pay.
It is also clear that if you want democratic representation under this Government, be
prepared to pay a financial price for the privilege
( see all in Gas Watch 219 ).
Wednesday, 21 August, 2013. Gas Watch 218.
"Abbott backs farmers' right to say NO".
“Miners should not go onto farms if they’re not wanted. It’s very wrong and they shouldn’t
be going onto land where the relevant land owners don’t want them.” – Tony Abbott 2/5/13.
We asked Joel Fitzgibbon and Michael Johnsen:
“Whilst we are all aware that the State Governments grant Mining Licences and CSG Licences, how
do you see a Federal Government legislating to establish a landholder’s right to ay “no”; how would
you define farmland; when in the first term of Government would this take place; any available
detail as to how such legislation would operate
Johnsen based his response on “CSG is seen as a transitional energy source and is proven to be less
emitting of carbon dioxide. It is also potentially more efficient”. Unfortunately Johnsen has obviously not
considered the science which says that CSG is likely to be a dirtier fuel than coal and that the CSG industry
has underestimated methane leakage from wells by 62,000,000 tonnes over 3 years ( www.tai.org.au ) and
that the huge issue of disposal of contaminated water is unresolved.
Fitzgibbon takes delight in having been wooed by AGL Energy which appears to have convinced him that
diluting salt contaminated water and putting that salt contaminated water onto pasture is a good thing. It
doesn’t matter how much you dilute it, the salt is still there and must eventually contaminate the ground.
This speech was before the knifing of Julia Gillard and before Fitzgibbon was Rudd’s Minister for
Agriculture. Perhaps he’s now changed his mind.
Make up your own mind. Not much comfort from either of them. Fortunately the O’Farrell Government has
bound itself to legislating CSG exclusion zones in the Hunter Valley and around residential areas in the
State, so any reliance on the Federal Government in our area will be somewhat mitigated.
( see all in Gas Watch 218 ).
Tuesday, 20 August, 2013. Gas Watch 217.
Government fails to issue “HEALTH ALERTS” when
dust pollution exceeds hazardous levels.
What are the coal mines doing in the dead of night?
Are they failing to use proper dust suppression in the dark when noone
can see their filthy haze?
Look at these OEH monitoring station results over last 24 hours:
• Camberwell - 12 midnight - 172.5 micrograms of dust per cubic
• Maison Dieu near Singleton – 1 pm - 133.4
• Maison Dieu – 2 pm 119.4 (not below 100 between midnight and 2
• Mt. Thorley, near Bulga – 10 pm – 92.
100 micrograms per cubic metre is defined by the Government as “Hazardous”.
No health alerts were issued this morning because the “rolling average” didn’t reach
dangerous levels, although individual readings were hazardous to the health of
humans and animals.
That’s now three days and nights in a row we have been breathing in dust which
could be doing irreversible damage to our lungs and the developing lungs of our
Mines should have an automatic shut down procedure when dust levels reach
the “poor” level of 50. They must never be allowed to reach the “hazardous”
level of over 100.
Monitoring is just not good enough. Action must be taken NOW to preserve
( see all in Gas Watch 217 ).
Sunday, 18 August, 2013. Gas Watch 216.
“HEALTH ALERTS” ISSUED FOR THE HUNTER.
Hunter Valley residents breathe dangerous levels of
dust – two days in a row.
On 17th August and 18th August, 2013 the Department
of Environment and Heritage issued “health alerts”.
The P10 dust levels today reached 60.7 micrograms per
cubic metre at 7 am.
97.8 micrograms per cubic metre was measured
yesterday at 6 am – a health hazard.
The Department says that anything between 75 and 100 is very poor and that 100+
is hazardous to the health.
The Hunter has reached 300 at times – a level which can damage the lungs and
which is cancer inducing.
Friday, 16 August, 2013. Gas Watch 215.
Environmentally dangerous mining versus established, clean and responsible farming and
AGL Energy seeks to ruin the Hunter Valley wine industry with its
unsustainable Coal Seam Methane mining
Margan Family Wines at Broke in the Hunter takes out Gold for
Excellence in Sustainable Tourism and Gold for Excellence in Tourism
Wineries, Distilleries and Boutique Breweries at Hunter & Central Coast
Tourism Awards 2013 this week
We have the wine industry working successfully at sustainability, and continuing its 200 year old
On the other hand we have AGL Energy which has been found to regularly breach its
environmental obligations – air pollution; ground pollution; failing to monitor emissions; fail to
report; and more.
Unconventional coal seam methane miners are putting extreme pressure on the O’Farrell
Government to give them 21 years of methane extraction from under the vineyards, from which
the wine industry, including the wine tourism industry, and the environment may never recover...( see all in Gas Watch 215 ).
Thursday, 1 August, 2013. Gas Watch 214.
All important to the O’Farrell Government and the
mining companies is: The size of the prize.
The “significant of the resource” draft SEPP makes the SIZE OF THE PRIZE
the “principal consideration” in granting mining licences for coal or methane gas.
The bigger the mine the better.
The more damage done to agriculture, the happier this Government will be.
Minister Hartcher says this will “improve investor confidence” in the mining industry.
BUT it will destroy investment and confidence in the agriculture sector.
This Government, both pre and post election has promised that there will be no coal seam
methane gas activity in the vineyards
( see all in Gas Watch 214 ).
Tuesday, 30 July, 2013.Gas Watch 213.
Let Australia starve.
O’Farrell Government declares coal and methane gas more important than food and water
Minister Hartcher promotes fossil fuel mining over agriculture.
Hartcher sells out to the mining industry.
Let Australia be reliant on other countries to source its food.
Let mining companies reap their riches.
That is what this SEPP is saying.
There is nothing in the Draft Mining and Gas SEPP released yesterday by Minister Hartcher to
require a mining proposal to even consider other industries near a “significant resource”. And
“significant resource” isn’t even defined.
Clearly the mining companies have been in the Government’s ear, and the Government has
succumbed to their pressure heralding the end of any security in agriculture.
Towns, villages and farms, under this SEPP, must play second fiddle to a “significant resource”.
Agricultural industries, including the 200 year old wine industry and its associated tourist industry,
( see all in Gas Watch 213 ).
Thursday, 25 July, 2013.Gas Watch 212.
Mining Industry claims of co-existence rebutted by Bulga Coal.
Bulga Coal’s own Environmental Impact Statement contradicts the official advertising blitz
of “World Class Miners” and the Minerals Council
“World Class Miners” and the Minerals Council loosely claim that “research (unquoted) and the
experience of Bob (Kennedy) and other grape growers (unidentified) shows that it is possible for
mining and farming to work together”.
1. Bulga Coal disagrees.
2. Xstrata says that not all mining and agricultural relationships work.
( see all in Gas Watch 212 ).
Tuesday, 23 July, 2013.Gas Watch 211.
Xstrata hides behind the Minerals Council’s false, deceptive and
Xstrata admits that not all mining/agriculture relationships work.
Withdraw merely the headline of the current official advertising Blitz where it is claimed that Xstrata’s Bulga
Underground coal mine is “now producing wine” we asked Glencore Xstrata.
The headline is, of course, a lie. The mine is producing coal. The vineyard above the mine is producing
The headline of this political advertisement is both false, deceptive and misleading – we told Xstrata.
We asked for confirmation that it wouldn’t be used again.
Xstrata responded to say that they had a good working relationship with one specific neighbouring
vineyard owner, but “There is no suggestion that these experiences reflect all relationships
between mining and other land users” ( see all in Gas Watch 211 ).
Monday, 22 July, 2013.Gas Watch 210.
Mining industry hits new low: Major official ad campaign based on
lies and politics.
A little known group called “World Class Miners” has co-opted an even lesser known grape grower
in the Hunter Valley in a failed attempt to show that grape growing and coal mining can co-exist.
A major official advertising blitz in all media, including major national press, social media and
more, has clearly been timed to coincide with the hearing of the appeal by Rio Tinto against the
decision of the Land & Environment Court to save the town of Bulga from destruction by open cut
The advertising blitz – no doubt costing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars - is
peppered with lies and omissions and highlights the desperate measures being undertaken
by the Mining Industry in its fight against the community( see all in Gas Watch 210 ).
Tuesday, 9 July, 2013. USA: Fugitive Gases in Water Wells Near Shale Gas Sites
This new American scientific study casts considerable doubts on the universal assertions of the gas industry that large scale hydraulic fracturing cannot contaminate surface fresh water aquifers. The industry says that the surface water and their gas production fracking zones are separated by hundreds of meters of "impenetrable" geological strata. Any contamination of the drinking water by fugitive gasses or toxic fracking chemicals is, therefore, impossible.
It should be noted that this study analysed the results from the Pennsylvanian shale gas deposits which are typically located in the depths of several kilometers. Australian coal seam gas strata are usually only several hundred meters deep and thus the chance of the biosphere contamination is much greater. THOSE IMPENETRABLE BARRIERS MAY NOT BE SO IMPENETRABLE AFTER ALL!
( see more in our Research Archives ).
Friday, 5 July, 2013.Gas Watch 209.
AGL’s “gas supply crisis” simply a lot of hot air.
AGL’s efforts to scare the O'Farrell Govt into relaxing CSG laws
revealed by The Australia Institute to be nonsense..
Senior economist at The Australia Institute, Matt Grudnoff, says in relation to proposed increases
in wholesale gas prices, that:
- “the increase is linked to plans to sell gas from eastern Australia overseas.”
- “It’s not the lack of supply that is going to drive up gas prices. It’s the introduction of CSG as a
new form of supply.”
- “Many in the gas industry would like us to believe that public opposition to CSG is the reason for
the impending price increases. But it’s the determination of the gas industry to sell to the highest
( see all in Gas Watch 209 ).
Thursday, 4 July, 2013.Gas Watch 208.
O'Farrell Govt “endorses” CSG exclusions in February ... now sits
on its hands !!
Despite cabinet "endorsing" the exclusion of important zones from coal
seam gas activity nearly six months ago, it has failed to act on its
The Hunter's been waiting long enough and needs to get back to
business, and the only way is to put pressure back onto the Government
to come good and start acting on behalf of the community, not big mining
companies ( see all in Gas Watch 208 ).
Friday, 28 June, 2013.Gas Watch 207.
O’Farrell snubs community but gets cosy with AGL.
The Premier of NSW has openly snubbed urgent requests for
community discussions, but within hours of news being
released is happy to privately meet with multinational
corporates such as AGL, who are trying to profit from changes
to CSG laws.
Within a few days of the Premier announcing exclusion zones from CSG mining, the head of AGL was
sitting in the Premier’s office to talk about it.
We, the community, have been trying to speak directly with the Premier ever since.
On 31st May the Premier’s secretary wrote and told us that the Premier has “declined our meeting request”
– refused to see us ( see all in Gas Watch 207 ).
Tuesday, 11 June, 2013.Gas Watch 206.
Government sides against community to rush through legislation by stealth. Important amendments to CSG law were stealthily rushed through and passed
without amendment in less than a week in a move that signals the
Government is now unashamedly in bed with the CSG mining lobby – and
actively against its electors and the community.
On 22nd May, 2013, Minister Hartcher introduced CSG law amendments. It was pushed
through and passed without amendment on 28th May. Some sort of a record??
Minister Hartcher’s second reading speech could well have been written by the coal seam
methane miners *.
Why has the Government been covert in passing this legislation?
Why was the CSG mining industry consulted, but not the community?
The Government has clearly been brainwashed by the CSG industry. The CSG industry has been able to
readily access Premier O’Farrell, but despite representations through local member George Souris, the
community has been denied equal time.
The Government wants no debate on what is arguably the most contentious industry in the country – coal
seam methane gas mining.
The opportunity for the Government to enshrine into law its pre-election promises to permanently
protect critical industries and environmentally sensitive areas has been lost.
The proposed new Petroleum (Onshore) Act concentrates on convincing us that the CSG industry will be
punished for breaches, but omits to address important issues
( see all in Gas Watch 206 ).
Friday, 26 April, 2013.Gas Watch 205.
Confusion over Interim Coal Seam Gas Protocol. This week the NSW Government issued its Interim Protocol that
appeared to provide for removal of some land from the promised
CSG exclusion zones.
Whilst the wording of the protocol is very confusing, when read with the announcements of
Premier O’Farrell, and others, it appears abundantly clear:
• that there will be no interference with the Critical Industry Clusters – neither equine nor
• that there will be no lands within those clusters excised from exclusion;
• that there will be no “swiss cheese” approach to the current critical Industry Cluster
“A two kilometre exclusion zone will be imposed around residential zones to prevent new CSG
exploration, assessment and production activities (both surface and underground); Exclusion
zones will apply to identified Critical Industry Clusters – viticulture and the equine industry”. “These
exclusion zones will apply to any CSG activity that has not yet been approved under the EP&A Act
or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act.”– Barry O‘Farrell Media Release 19/2/2013.
Friday, 12 April, 2013.Gas Watch 204
AGL’s claim of a “gas supply crisis” is nonsense. Just another desperate attempt by AGL to panic the people and the
Government into accepting that this filthy, fossil fuel is necessary.
What gas supply “crisis? See Gas Watch 204
Australia is exporting gas in almost identical amounts to the Country’s actual consumption. There’s
oodles there for everybody. Australia’s consumption has been dropping since 2007 and is back to
2004 levels. And don’t think that the export won’t continue. That is where this CSG will go, and
that is where the money is for these coal seam methane miners.
AGL is treating us all, people, local Government and State Government with the utmost contempt,
attempting to fool us into believing that there is this “gas supply crisis”, a phrase they have only
And as recently as today AGL has announced in the local press further drilling in the proposed
vineyard critical industry cluster exclusion zone.
The methane miners simply can’t be trusted with the truth ( see all in Gas Watch 204 ).
Friday, 12 April, 2013.Gas Watch 203.
Hunter Valley Council continues strong support of its community
against the CSG mining in the Singleton Shire. AGL, claimed at this week’s CSG Industry Conference that there is a “gas supply crisis” –
a new phrase made up by APPEA in only February of this year.
Clearly AGL has failed in its efforts to produce evidence to the community and all levels of
Government that CSG mining is safe, and is thus trying a new tack to panic the O’Farrell
Government into reversing its decision to protect residential zones and to protect critical
agricultural and associated industries from the ravages of coal seam methane mining.
This of course flies in the face of the real facts, and that is that there is plenty of gas available for
NSW. Just ask BHP! And of course, there appears to be no doubt that much of any mined coal
seam methane will be exported.
( see all in Gas Watch 203 ).
Monday, 8 April, 2013.Gas Watch 202.
Hunter Valley Council continues strong support of its community
against the CSG mining in the Singleton Shire.
AGL ignores Community, local Council and State Government and
keeps on drilling “There appears to be evidence that (environmental) impact could be
significant and irreversible.”
“There appears to be serious risk of significant environmental
These statements, made in a report to Singleton Council, were adopted by the Council tonight when it
debated the content of its submission to the Government in response to the Draft State Environmental Plan
setting out the coal seam gas exclusion zones. “Councils are specifically requested to identify villages which meet the defined village criteria so they can
be included as residential land” and therefore fall within the exclusion zones contemplated by the SEPP
( see all in Gas Watch 202 ).
Tuesday, 2 April, 2013.Gas Watch 201.
AGL fails to follow other coal seam methane miners in saving their
Based on “market conditions and shareholder feedback”, Dart Energy has announced to the Stock
Exchange that it will suspend field operations in relation to CSG in NSW, including that at Fullerton
Cove, where Dart Energy recently had a win in the Land and Environment Court against the
Fullerton Cove community.
Another methane miner, Metagasco, has suspended its coal seam methane drilling in the northern
rivers. Metagasco CEO said he “could not keep spending shareholders' money in the current
These companies have clearly made their decision, notwithstanding that they are not operating in
a Critical Industry Cluster exclusion area, in the interests of their respective shareholders.
AGL is operating in a CSG exclusion zone, but in its usual display of arrogance continues to drill
through the fresh water aquifers into unknown geological formations below with all the attendant
( see all in Gas Watch 201 ).
Tuesday, 2 April, 2013.Gas Watch 200.
AGL takes another step in its destruction of the Hunter Valley.
A photograph of the drilling site at Yellow Rock(below)
near the Hunter Valley vineyard village ofBroke, shows
the first step in what AGL plan
s to be a spiderweb of roads, pipes, drilling pads and
coal seam methane wells in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.
And AGL is just about to commence similar drilling at a nearbysite which has clearly not been
adequately geologically researched.
The approving Department merely accepts the unsubstantiated, one paragraph of claims by AGL
that it is unlikely there will be any problems, instead of requiring thorough independent geological
For example, under AGL’s next drilling
site there is complex geology, including a
well known fault
in the earth’s crust called the “Redmanvale Fault”, under which there was a 2.8 earthqua
ke in April,last year, and over which there is a substantial fresh water aquifer ...
( see all in Gas Watch 200 ).
GRAEME, CONGRATULATIONS TO GAS WATCH 200 !!!
Friday, 22 March, 2013.Gas Watch 199.
AGL ENERGY’S NEW BATTLEFRONT - BRAINWASHING YOUR CHILDREN.
There is no end to the despicable depths to which AGL Energy will stoop.
Parents should be urged not to allow AGL’s spin doctors to play with our children’s fertile minds.
Fast food companies and all other contentious advertising are subject to significant regulation when it comes to schools.
This is the most cynical form of advertising possible, as it is being done by stealth.
AGL just brought 120 children by bus from Muswellbrook High school,
during school hours, to look at its drilling rig at Broke, brainwashing
them with AGL propaganda that a coal seam methane well is just an insignificant
piece of machinery that won’t hurt the environment, our waterways, our health,
our productive soil, our lifestyles and our property values. Proven lies.
( see all in Gas Watch 199 ). See alse a copy of
in the Newcastle Herald.
Thursday, 21 March, 2013.Gas Watch 198.
GOVERNMENT PRODUCES DRAFT PLANNING POLICY BANNING
CSG DEVELOPMENT IN THE VINEYARDS.
AGL Energy thumbs its nose.
Today, AGL said they had not even read the public consultation draft.
In an extraordinary, but predictable, display of ignorance and arrogance, AGL called a
meeting today to discuss their CSG drilling in the Hunter Vineyards, revealing that they
hadn’t even read the public consultation draft SEPP banning CSG in the vineyards.
“Haven’t had time” said the AGL Community Relations person, Alison Croker.
Astonishing! Probably the most important document that has ever been published in
relation to AGL’s coal seam methane drilling in the Hunter, and they hadn’t made the time
to read it...( see all in Gas Watch 198 ).
Monday, 4 March, 2013.Gas Watch 197.
AGL: "We own it (the land), so could we drill on it?”
In another display of arrogance and complete disregard for the local community, AGL is
reported to have asked today: “We own it (the land), so could we drill on it?”
Well, according to the O’Farrell announcements, the answer is a resounding “No”.
The community of the Hunter Valley does not want AGL setting up gas fields and has been
actively opposing this since 2004. It’s time AGL faced up to its lack of support by both the
community and now the Government, and just went away from the Hunter.
The O’Farrell Government is to be applauded for listening to the community and for taking
steps to save the environment and the iconic vineyards of the Hunter Valley, honouring its
The community is so opposed to AGL turning the Hunter Valley into a gas field that AGL
has had to buy large tracts of land in the Broke and Bulga vineyard areas because
landholders won’t give them access to their land.
( see all in Gas Watch 197 ).
Tuesday, 25 February, 2013.Gas Watch 196.
IT’S NOW OFFICIAL.
AGL WILL IGNORE THE O’FARRELL GOVERNMENT’S CSG EXCLUSION ZONES.
AND WILL CONTINUE EXPLORATORY DRILLING.
“AGL intends to continue with its exploration activities, including drilling a
number of core holes on AGL owned property and private land in the Broke
and Bulga area, for which approvals are in place.” – so says the Community Relations
Manager – Hunter (Alison Crocker – email 26/2/2013).
AGL has elected to completely ignore Premier O’Farrell’s announcements.
You would think that AGL’s methane mining arm would have great difficulty in justifying this
behaviour to its Board and its Shareholders.
Premier O’Farrell made it very clear in his recent Press Release that “Critical Industry Clusters
identified under the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans – horse breeders and wine producers will
also be excluded from CSG activities”.
George Souris, Member for the Upper Hunter has also made it very clear: “There won't be CSG
development where no DA's have been approved, effectively taking out viticulture and equine
CICs and 2km from residential zoning.”
( see all in Gas Watch 196 ).
Monday, 25 February, 2013.Gas Watch 195.
AGL takes on the Government.
AGL has clearly refused to accept Premier O’Farrell’s exclusion of
the Hunter Vineyards from CSG exploration.
And continues its drilling program.
AGL today sent out invitations to “small, by-invite-only gatherings” to “peek” at “one
of our operational sites” in Broke.
What is it that AGL doesn’t get?
Premier O’Farrell has made it clear now, on more than one occasion, that no CSG projects will be
approved in the winegrowing/tourism Critical Industry Cluster in the Hunter Valley. The Premier
has made it abundantly clear that Broke, in particular, will be saved.
This has been confirmed by Member for the Upper Hunter, George Souris.
Monday, 25 February, 2013.Gas Watch 194.
AGL attempts to create gas price panic.
AGL, clutching at straws and claiming a possible increase in gas prices in the future, tries to panic
the NSW Government into reversing its decision to exclude sensitive areas from CGS extraction.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Export Association, APPEA, has weighed in with similar
panic statements such as the newly made up phrase - “gas supply crisis”.
Will these people stop at nothing to keep their share price up at huge environmental cost?
They claim that the cost of gas will rise because we will have to import it from interstate. Give us a
break. 95% of our gas comes from interstate now, so how is there going to be a price effect? And
you can rest assured that the majority of coal seam methane sucked out by the CSG miners will
go straight overseas.
( see all in Gas Watch 194 ).
Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism industry excluded from Community
No representative of Hunter Wines or Tourism will be permitted to attend the next Hunter
Community Consultative Committee meeting.
This is a Committee set up to facilitate consultation between AGL and the local community. The
regular representative gave the chair some weeks notice that he couldn’t attend the March
meeting and asked that a substitute attend on his behalf. The Chair, who has a discretion to allow
observers and guests to attend and either take part in the meeting or not, has refused.
( see all in Gas Watch 194 ).
Tuesday, 19 February, 2013.Gas Watch 193.
Hunter Wine Industry applauds exclusion of Hunter Wine Country
from coal seam gas activity.
Today’s announcement by the O’Farrell Government that the Hunter Vineyards are to be excluded
from CSG activities honours the pre-election promises of the O’Farrell Government, and was
received warmly by the people of the Hunter.
What we now require is to take this from being announcements to being LAW. Not a simple
State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) but law – strong, irrevocable legislation similar
to the Character Preservation (McLaren Vale) and (Barossa Valley) Acts in South Australia.
And we need that law to be in place before the Federal election on 14th September, 2013, or
it may never happen( see all in Gas Watch 193 ).
Monday, 18 February, 2013.Gas Watch 192.
HUNTER VALLEY COUNCIL REJECTS COAL SEAM METHANE GAS..
Tonight, Singleton Council unanimously rejected an application by
AGL Energy to access Council road reserves for its coal seam
The packed public gallery burst into applause when Councillors resolved not only to refuse
AGL’s access to road reserves for seismic CSG exploration, but to reaffirm Council’s
objection to all CSG activities in the Singleton LGA.
In yet another display of arrogance, AGL didn’t even turn up to support their application, notice of
which they not give to the community
Wednesday, 13 February, 2013.Gas Watch 191.
AGL to risk 200 years of sustainable industry, and its future, for less
than 5 years methane extraction.
AGL would produce coal seam methane in the Hunter for a mere
That’s the big prize for risking the fragile environment of the Hunter
And the Government has washed its hands of all responsibility.
During those 4.73 years the Hunter Valley Wine Industry could be devastated, wiped out, through
fresh water contamination and the salt contamination of the highly productive soil from disposal of
contaminated coal seam water.
The Hunter Valley Wine Industry is a sustainable industry with nearly 200 years of history, with
another 200 years or more left in it, and attracts a burgeoning tourism industry.
AGL today boasts that there are probable reserves of 669 petajoules of methane at Gloucester
and “just” 142Pj in the Hunter Valley, and that it would produce about 30Pj per year.
Well, let’s do the sums. If, and that’s a big if, there is 142Pj in the Hunter, then the coal seam
methane in the Hunter will be finished in 4.73 years ( see all in Gas Watch 191 ).
Tuesday, 12 February, 2013.Gas Watch 190.
Just when you thought the Federal Government had grown an
environmental backbone – it approves the Gloucester CSG project!.
One day Federal Environment Minister Burke slams the O’Farrell
Government for its slack approach to CSG.
The next day Burke aids and abets AGL in its environmental
destruction of prime agricultural land around Gloucester – although
today Burke described his approval as a “Clayton’s approval”, an
approval you give when you are not really giving an approval??
Looks like he has done this simply to punish the O’Farrell
Government for its slack environmental laws in relation to CSG.
The GM of Methane Mining for AGL, Mike Moraza, gave evidence before a
Senate enquiry that AGL would not force entry onto any land: “There is a lot
of country out there that can be explored and we would move on.” (Hansard)
– yet in complete opposition to that evidence AGL has now been successful in
Court, forcing 110 gas wells on the people of Gloucester.
But the likes of AGL never
reveal the final scope of their whole CSG project. Who knows, we could end up with
thousands of wells anywhere from Merriwa to Newcastle
( see all in Gas Watch 190 ).
Sunday, 10 February, 2013.Gas Watch 189.
WESTERN SYDNEY A DISTRACTION FROM AGL FRACKING IN THE HUNTER.
This Company HAS NEVER BEEN MORE ACTIVE THAN IT IS, NOW, IN THE
HUNTER VALLEY, and is ramping up to launch its fracking in the region.
IS IT ALREADY TOO LATE TO SAVE THE HUNTER WINE INDUSTRY, with
fracking exploration wells in the vineyards about to commence?
( see all in Gas Watch 189 ).
Friday, 8 February, 2013.Gas Watch 188.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CSG INTERVENTION APPLAUDED.
NSW GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED IN DRAFTING COAL SEAM METHANE LAWS.
The NSW Government has drafted laws which give no effective protection to even one square
metre of this State, and which fly in the face of the recommendations of its own Stakeholder
As a result AGL Energy has already announced that this year it will be fracking coal seams
in the Hunter Valley vineyards, even though it is concerned with the fracking technique it
appears to now have abandoned in its Camden Gas fields.
This month AGL is drilling core holes through fresh water aquifers and hundreds of metres down
into the salty, contaminated coal seams below, risking the fresh water of the Hunter Valley.
“The O’Farrell Government seems either incompetent, or unwilling, to properly address the
effective control of the CSG industry and refuses to accept that CSG extraction and
sustainable agriculture cannot co-exist.” said Stewart Ewen, the Chair of the Hunter Valley
( see all in Gas Watch 188 ).
Sunday, 27 January, 2013.Gas Watch 187.
AGL – HAVE THEY OVERSTEPPED THE LINE BETWEEN SPINNING & LYING?
An AGL company mouthpiece went on record last week complaining that this Alliance broadcast
“misinformation” and that we had never produced one fact to support any of our allegations about
the behaviour of AGL in its coal seam methane mining activities.
So here we go again. Wouldn’t it be much more simple for them to admit they have breached
some conditions in the past and perhaps say what they are doing to prevent them in the future.
But no, we have to waste our time digging out the facts that they deny ever happened.
Here, just briefly, are just some of those facts again:
During August, 2010 AGL, in the course of its exploration for coal seam methane in the Hunter,
AGL dumped an alleged 300,000 litres of salty contaminated water onto pasture, killing the
pasture. AGL admitted to 110,000 litres, and was ordered to remediate the site. The NSW
Ombudsman said: “it appears to me that AGL breached their licence conditions by discharging the
contaminated water” (NSW Ombudsman ref: C/2010/7463).
In July, 2011 AGL was issued with a “formal warning” by the Government following a blowout of a
methane well near Campbelltown caused by incorrect operation of the well.
AGL failed “to comply with the Licence conditions in both of its Petroleum Exploration Licences
affecting the Hunter Valley Wine Country (Report on Audit of Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licences in NSW
– Phase 2).
Sunday, 20 January, 2013.Gas Watch 186.
AUSSIES AND THE WORLD LOVE THE HUNTER VALLEY.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA LOVES THE BAROSSA. WHY IS O’FARRELL AND HIS GOVERNMENT HELL BENT ON DESTROYING THE HUNTER BY LETTING AGL IGNORE SCIENCE
AND EXPERIMENT WITH AND HARM ITS PRISTINE ENVIRONMENTS?
When will the O’Farrell Government and the Minister for Tourism and Member for the Upper
Hunter, George Souris, realise that they must protect the world acclaimed Hunter Valley
Wine and Tourism industry from disappearing into a coal seam methane gas field, and
work with the local wine and food producers rather than against them?
When will AGL Energy see the light and realise that the Hunter Valley cannot afford the
health and environmental risks of developing a coal seam methane gas field in the
South Australia is proud of their new laws protecting the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
O’Farrell and Souris must be ashamed of their own treatment of the Hunter Valley as a
fossil fuel quarry
( see all in Gas Watch 186 ).
Thursday, 17 January, 2013.Gas Watch 185.
AGL Energy’s fraccing about turn in Sydney doesn’t surprise the Hunter Valley community.
It’s typical of AGL’s treatment of the general public in the Hunter
where AGL is clearly experimenting with coal seam methane
exploration and using the Hunter as its guinea pig.
AGL, which has announced that it will be fraccing coal seams in the vineyard area of the
Hunter Valley during 2013, declared at a local public meeting that it would not drill for coal
seam methane in the Milbrodale Valley in the Hunter because that area was affected by the
Bulga-Inlet fault line, a serious and well documented fault line.
But, predictably, AGL has now changed its mind and has obtained approval to drill a core hole in
Milbrodale, stating in its Review of Environmental Factors that it “can safely drill within 200 metres
of the Bulga-Inlet fault line”. No scientific support for this from any geologist. AGL has simply
changed its mind and convinced the Government that it must have been wrong when it earlier
accepted the dangers of drilling in the Milbrodale Valley
( see all in Gas Watch 185 ).
Sunday, 13 January, 2013.Gas Watch 184.
AGL Energy’s feeble and failed attempt at preparing the newly required
Agricultural Impact Statement makes a mockery of the Government’s recently
claimed protection of strategic agricultural land.
AGL lodged an “Agricultural Impact Statement” with the State Government, as it is required
to do, in support of its application for approval to drill through the upper fresh water
aquifers into the coal seam a kilometre or so under the earth’s crust.
These Agricultural Impact Statements are now a requirement, so that the Government can see
what impact coal seam methane miners will have on existing agriculture.
But there is no point in anyone preparing one at all if they aren’t accurate.
AGL’s Agricultural Impact Statement (AIS) supporting its drilling at Milbrodale in the Hunter Valley
is so flawed as to be useless. AGL is just ticking the boxes rather than having a serious attempt at
identifying impacts on existing agriculture. The Manager of AGL’s coal seam methane mining said
he didn’t even know that there was an organic vineyard within 500 metres of the drilling site.
Thursday 10 January, 2013.Gas Watch 183.
AGL Energy’s contribution to the Hunter Valley during 2012 – Happy New Year.
Of course there’s plenty more than that which is set out below, but thanks AGL for ruining our 2012, for
ruining our Hunter Valley, for ruining our environment, for ruining our beautiful area, for ruining our property
values and our businesses, and for ruining our rural lifestyles.
We just hope when it comes around for AGL
to seek production licences that the Government lives up to its firm promises and saves the Hunter from
your pillaging. Here’s some of AGL’s contribution to the Hunter Valley during 2012:
( see all in Gas Watch 183 ).
Tuesday 31 December, 2012.Gas Watch 182.
AGL Energy to start drilling for coal seam methane in the Hunter during January, 2013.
As anticipated in our last Gas Watch, AGL announced in Christmas week that it intends to start drilling core holes into
the coal seams under the Hunter Valley villages of Broke and Milbrodale in January, 2013.
It is usual for the likes of AGL to make these announcements over Christmas when people are away or relaxing.
In its Christmas announcement AGL included a photograph of the drilling rig, similar to this one taken from its website.
What it doesn’t show, and AGL always shows its drilling pads or well heads in isolation, is that the road leading to
the drilling pad will eventually be linked upto other drilling pads so it will look like this.
Wednesday 19 December, 2012.Gas Watch 181.
AGL Energy meets with the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association.
AGL claimed that coal seam methane mining could co-exist with viticulture. When told coexistence
had never successfully happened anywhere in the world, the GM of methane
mining for AGL, Mike Moraza said “I know of one petroleum project in California” which
Moraza described as having “a form of co-existence”. “One?!”. “A form of?!” Now that is a
convincing argument, isn’t it? And that appears to be the best he can do!
We have had a sustainable wine industry for 200 years, have a burgeoning wine tourism
industry, and we will go another 200 years and beyond.
AGL will mine their fossil fuel for a few short years per well and then leave the area in
goodness knows what sort of an environmental mess
( see more in Gas Watch 181 ).
Thursday 13 December, 2012.Gas Watch 180.
AGL Energy, methane gas miner, dances on the grave of the late David Clarke AO.
Today AGL Energy, which bought the former Pooles Rock vineyard from David Clarke’s estate shortly after his death,
commenced drilling in what is a precursor to fraccing coal seams both under the Pooles Rock vines, and also under the Pokolbin State Forest which abuts the property and can be seen in the rear of the attached photos ...
( see more in Gas Watch 180 ).
Thursday 13 December, 2012.Gas Watch 179.
Minister Hartcher ignores advice of his own Chief Scientist in ending
moratorium on fraccing coal seams.
Minister Hartcher has put our land and our environment at serious risk in ordering the end of the
moratorium on fraccing coal seams in ignoring the warnings from his own Chief Scientist. What’s
the point in ordering a report if it is to be ignored! What is Minister Hartcher thinking? Or did he
think at all.
Hartcher claims he used the report from the Government’s Chief Scientist & Engineer (a copy of which we
have obtained under Freedom of Information) as his base to allow the methane miners to start fraccing, and
AGL has said that it intends to start fraccing very shortly in the Hunter Valley.
How could any right thinking person ignore the report of the Chief Scientist,
(see http://huntervalleyprotectionalliance.com/pdf/NSWGOV_FrInfo_DraftReportCSE-toMinister.pdf ) and
contained, amongst other things, the following warnings (Prof Peter Cook CBE FTSE ): ...
( more in Gas Watch 179 ).
HUNTER VALLEY PROTECTION ALLIANCE Campaign
Sunday 2 December, 2012.Gas Watch 178.
Tell the State Government to protect agricultural land from coal and gas mining.
The O’Farrell State Government has released its final public consultation draft of its Strategic Land Use
Policies in the form of an amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), and its not good
news at all for the food bowls and the fresh water of Australia.
Overall there is still no adequate protection of Strategic Agricultural Land (SAL), and there is no certainty for
landholders or business operators within those areas. As a result, there is no incentive for sustainable
growth of the agricultural industry within SAL. The SEPP must be expanded to enable the new “Gateway
Panel”, appointed to examine applications to mine coal seam methane, to refuse an application if there are
circumstances which could not be addressed by conditions attached to an approval.
Further the SEPP must be expanded to enable the Gateway Panel to take into account impacts of the
proposed coal seam methane development on commercial operations, productivity, value, reputation and
growth of critical industry clusters within the agricultural community, in addition to the scientific and
Further, the Gateway process is not triggered until after exploration. Exploration for unconventional coal
seam methane involves drilling through fresh water aquifers to the contaminated coal seams beneath. Not
only is there the risk of contamination or reduction of the fresh water aquifers, the exploration process also
involves the fracking of coal seams with its many attendant environmental risks. These risks are
particularly “significant” (Dr. Gavin Mudd, Monash University) when undertaken in proximity to underground
long wall coal mining ( see more in Gas Watch 178 ).
Please lodge a submission outlining your objections to the SEPP in its current form. You can do this very
simply by clicking on: http://tinyurl.com/cvafw6j
and following the prompts.
You can also preview,download or print the campaign letter at this address ...
Sunday 25 November, 2012.Gas Watch 177.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES DANGERS OF CSG.
STATE GOVERNMENT BETRAYS LANDHOLDERS.
1. Singleton Council in the Hunter Valley has unanimously reaffirmed its opposition to
coal seam methane gas mining in the Singleton Local Government area and says it
will decline any application by AGL Energy to conduct seismic testing on Council
2. Cessnock Council in the Hunter Valley has now also unanimously voted to reject an
application by AGL Energy to use local roads to explore for coal seam methane gas.
3. The O’Farrell State Government continues to ignore the protection of prime
agricultural land, continues to ignore the need to protect ground water and
underground fresh water aquifers, and ignores the advice of its own Stakeholders
Reference Group by substantially weakening Strategic Land Use Policies to such an
extent that they encourage fossil fuel extraction over prime farming land and water
protection, and it ignores the rights and wishes of the community
(see more in Gas Watch 177 ).
Thursday 15 November, 2012.Gas Watch 176.
METHANE BEING RELEASED INTO THE AIR WE BREATHE – is this the next asbestos?
1. Methane emissions inside the Tara methane gas field in Queensland’s Darling Downs
were up to three times the emissions outside the gas field – Southern Cross University.
2. Australia is likely to be significantly underestimating coal seam gas fugitive
emissions by around 62 million tonnes over three years - The Australia Institute’s Senior
Economist Matt Grudnoff.
Uncontrolled fugitive leakage of methane gas is something this Alliance has continually warned
about, and something the methane miners have been very quiet about.
The unconventional CSG industry, and its industry body APPEA, must stop hiding this massive
problem of methane leaking from coal seams, after fraccing, through the soil and into the air we
breathe. It’s about time they were honest with the community.
The Southern Cross University research is saying that coal seam methane could well be dirtier
than coal. This confirms what has been found throughout the world.
(see more in Gas Watch 176 ).
The NSW Government is supporting the Coal Seam Methane industry over food bowls and
agriculture. Let’s see if the Feds will help in saving the country. Please go to this website and
send an email to the Federal Minister for Health and the Federal Minister for Climate Control
letting them know your real concerns. It’s only a click. Maybe the Feds will help. Tell the Federal Government: CSG Mining - It's Not Safe
Friday 9 November, 2012.Gas Watch 175.
AGL Energy –fraccing coal seams in Hunter Valley for methane.
AGL Energy has announced that it proposes to conduct hydraulic fracturing (fraccing) of Hunter
Valley coal seams in the course of its exploration for unconventional coal seam methane gas.
This process will produce a quantity of coal seam methane gas.
What is the point of the Government declaring Strategic Agricultural Lands if it ignores that
declaration and permits methane being released from under those lands.
AGL has announced that it will undertake the fraccing towards the end of this year on land owned by AGL
at both Broke and Bulga, and that it is preparing a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) in support of its
An REF is a simple desk top exercise used, instead of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), where
it is thought there won’t be too much detrimental environmental impact. There is no public scrutiny at all,
and little inter-Departmental scrutiny of an REF. They are pretty much rubber-stamped by the Department.
There is scrutiny of an EIS. Hiding behind a simple REF is just plain wrong ...
(see more in Gas Watch 175 ).
Friday 9 November, 2012.Gas Watch 174.
AGL Energy to drill through flood plains in Hunter Valley.
Over the next few weeks AGL Energy, in its headlong pursuit of
unconventional coal seam methane, has announced it will drill 12 bores, most
on the flood plains of the Wollombi Brook, a tributary of the mighty Hunter
AGL has already started building roads on its Yellow Rock property at Broke, only 500
metres from the vineyard village, in anticipation of bringing in the massive drilling rigs next
Wednesday 24 October, 2012.Gas Watch 173.
APPEA continues with its $2.5 million campaign of lies, spin, omission and exaggeration.
In a two page “advertising feature” in yesterday’s press APPEA, (The Australian Petroleum Production and
Exploration Association) attempted to justify the destruction of prime agricultural land in the headlong
pursuit of unconventional coal seam methane gas.
The “advertising feature” claimed:
• That farmers could rely on AGL Energy’s coal seam methane as a “good income earner”. AN EXAGGERATION. In the case of Halfpenny Investments v Sydney Gas (now AGL) the
Court held that a landowner would be entitled to $6.40 per year for each well site; $3.84 per
day for each well site during drilling; $0.20c per square meter for methane gas pipes; and
$0.20c per square meter for land otherwise needed for industrial equipment or the like.
Hardly a “good income earner”!
(see more in Gas Watch 173 ).
Saturday 20 October, 2012.Gas Watch 172.
Hunter Valley voted Number 1 wine region in Australasia – will become a coal seam methane gas field if
O’Farrell Government and AGL Energy have their way.
The Hunter Valley has been recognized as one of the finest wine districts in the world, winning the
2012 Travellers’ Choice Wine Destination Awards for the Australasian region.
This award is based
on the reviews and opinions of millions of travellers worldwide.
This is the winegrowing and wine tourism area which AGL Energy seeks to turn into an
unconventional coal seam methane gas field. A world famous, iconic winegrowing region with a
history going back to 1820.
A sustainable industry which could continue on for another 200 years or more, but which AGL
Energy, with the support of the O’Farrell Government, will destroy in return for a couple of decades
of coal seam methane, which we don’t even need.
Minister for Tourism, George Souris, crows that the Hunter Valley is “famous for wine and has an
outstanding reputation for quality produce with a vibrant calendar of events.”
So, why won’t this Government stop AGL from exploring further for coal seam methane in the
winegrowing areas? Why can’t Minister Souris convince the Government to Save the Hunter?
(see more in Gas Watch 172 ).
Bulga Bridge Centenary celebrations.
Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association invites all current and past residents
ofBulga and other interested persons to attend the Bulga Bridge Centenary on 27th October 2012
commencing at 10am with a bridge opening re-enactment then stalls music and activities at the Recreation ground,
a Ball will be held in the evening. Please contact (02) 6574 5237
Wednesday 10 October, 2012.Gas Watch 171.
Brainwashed by his own bureaucrats, and also by the Coal Seam Methane industry, Minister Hartcher lives in fantasy land. Minister Hartcher claims, in an address to the Coal Seam Methane lobby group APPEA on
9th October, 2012: • “the NSW Government needs to ramp up the industry to avoid gas shortages and
This is nonsense. The Minister is only listening to his public servants, the same public servants who worked under the previous
Government’s Minister handing out, willy-nilly, Petroleum Exploration Licences over massive areas of NSW. What he says is simply not
true. The BHP Billiton Petroleum Chief Mike Yeager said as recently as 14th May, 2012 – “We want to make sure that the market
knows that....We have a lot of gas in eastern Australia that’s available. It’s more important to let the citizens of Victoria and New South
Wales and Queensland know, that there’s plenty of gas to supply those provinces indefinitely. We have gas for sale and we will work with
anybody at any time.” Further, gas prices in the USA have fallen through the floor
(see more in Gas Watch 171 ).
Tuesday 25 September, 2012.WHERE TO FROM HERE?.
Community Meeting at Broke Hall on Tuesday 9th October, 2012 at 5.30 pm. - Please be there. there is much to learn, and even more to do.
Speakers from HVPA will update everyone on what is happening and what we have been doing.
Peter Martin from the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group, with whom we have been working, will also speak to us and tell us how they are fighting the fossil fuel industry in his area.(See Peter speak at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka-RRaiEeYA ).
As well as having an update, we need to set in place a program to:
continue, and increase, our opposition to AGL continuing its exploration in our area;
continue to ensure that we, and our neighbours, refuse to give AGL access to our properties;
continue to pressure all Governments, Federal, State and Local to Save the Hunter from environmental destruction;
continue to ensure that the air we breathe is free from dangerous (or hazardous) pollution and contaminants;
continue to ensure that the very existence of our villages is not threatened by open cut coal mining;
continue to call upon the State Government to honour its pre and post election promises to protect the Hunter Valley from Coal Seam Methane Mining.
We have had some successes in that as a result of our incessant representations the "Broke Fordwich winegrowing region", which includes Broke, Fordwich, Milbrodale and Bulga, has been declared "Strategic Agricultural Land" in that it is a "critical industry cluster".
Unfortunately the Strategic Land Use, and associated, Policies have no real teeth; the moratorium on fracking has been lifted (we are awaiting a copy of the Government Scientist's report upon which Minister Hartcher relied to lift the moratorium); AGL is still exploring; AGL acknowledged that wine country should be saved and surrendered some areas of its PEL near Pokolbin (an areas where there is apparently no commercial coal or gas), but continues to explore in other areas; AGL continues to breach its licence conditions and continues to damage the environment; the coal mining companies are saturating the air in the Hunter with dust and other contaminants (particularly in the dead of night) and Minister for the Environment Parker appears to be doing nothing to help us; open cut coal mine expansion is imminent, however there is insufficient cumulative impact studies available to enable the community, or the Government for that matter, to predict the cumulative effect of these expansions.
There is so much to do. We need help and input:
We'd like to have a group to focus on AGL and the coal seam methane mining;
We'd like to have a group to focus on coal mine expansion and cumulative impacts;
We'd like to have a group to focus on air quality, noise and light from the coal mines.
Look forward to seeing you at Broke Hall on 9th.
We need help and input.
Thursday 13 September, 2012.Gas Watch 170.
Government caves in to AGL Energy and reneges on its promises.
According to AGL Energy the NSW Government has announced that it has
renewed AGL’s Petroleum Exploration Licence 267 covering the iconic
vineyard areas of the Hunter Valley.
AGL was required, by law, to relinquish 25% of the PEL area upon renewal.
The community actively pursued Government to include in that 25% all the vineyard areas of
Pokolbin, and Broke Fordwich, including Bulga and Milbrodale.
These representations were supported by not only evidence of the environmental risks of the
unconventional coal seam methane industry, but also based upon socio-economic evidence
supporting the sustainable, 200 year old, winegrowing industry now supported by the wine tourism
industry as opposed to a CSG industry which would be in and out in 20 years leaving the
environment and the water in a possibly irretrievable mess.
AGL pursued the Government to relinquish a number of blocks away from the heart of those
winegrowing and tourism areas. ...
And of course 11,000 people who signed a petition in support of excising the vineyard areas from
the Petroleum Exploration Licence area did not have their petition even discussed during the
Cabinet debate because, although it was lodged with the Member for the Upper Hunter George
Souris on 8th November, 2011, it was sitting on a desk in his office until 19th September, 2012
when we enquired as its whereabouts.
Apparently the Member then immediately lodged it
(see more in Gas Watch 170 ).
Thursday 13 September, 2012.Gas Watch 169.
NSW Government fails to Save the Hunter. In another blow for the Hunter Valley, Minister Hazzard has announced there will be no
protection of the Hunter Valley vineyard areas from unconventional coal seam methane gas
exploration and mining, effectively giving the CSG miners open slather to ruin the precious
environment of the Hunter.
This is despite the pre-election promises made by himself, other Ministers, and the Member
for the Upper Hunter, George Souris, that the coal seam methane mining would not be
permitted in the vineyard areas.
The new Strategic Regional Land Use Policy has turned out to offer no protection for the vineyards and
vineyard tourism in the Hunter. What the people of the Hunter sought was protection of our environment,
our water, our land, our health and our livelihoods. The Government in opposition promised us this. After
the election the Government continued with that promise, but has abandoned the Hunter.
The Hunter has become the Government’s “dumping ground” for the fossil fuel industry. The Hunter can’t
take any more.
(see more in Gas Watch 169 ).
Tuesday 11 September, 2012.Gas Watch 168.
Robyn Parker, Minister for the Environment,
continues to fail in her Ministerial Role. On 11th September, 2012, at 4 am, the dust levels in the air near the coal mines in
Singleton reached TWO AND A HALF TIMES THE LEVEL WHICH IS
CONSIDERED HAZARDOUS TO HUMAN HEALTH (source: oeh website).
For the past two weeks we have been regularly writing to the Department and to
Minister Robyn Parker, with no response other than a “thank you for contacting the
Minsiter (the Minister’s staff spelling, not ours).
We have pointed out to the Minister that the dust pollution levels have regularly
been in the hazardous range, affecting human health
(see more in Gas Watch 168 ).
Tuesday 11 September, 2012.World Class Miners or World Class Whiners? .
We are all getting pretty sick of the spin constantly emanating from the coal and gas industry.
They like to pretend to be "salt of the earth" but the reality is very different. Newcastle "Rising Tide" people
felt the same and provided us with a spoof website that answers the spin from the NSW Mineral Council:
ENJOY AND SHARE!.
Friday 7 September, 2012.Gas Watch 167.
Robyn Parker, Minister for the Environment,
sits on her hands as the Hunter Valley suffocates Since 30th August, 2012, the Ministerial Office of Robyn Parker has been informed
by us that air pollution in the Hunter Valley has regularly exceeded the level
“hazardous to human health”. She should have been informed by her Department
well before then.
The Minister has done nothing to protect the health of the residents of the Hunter.
The measurements of particles in the air less than 10 micrometers in diameter (P10) should have
a maximum concentration in the air of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. (50 considered poor quality
Health alerts are issued in the Hunter when the readings, on average over 24 hour periods,
exceed the 50 microgram limit.
But within those averages the P10 level has reached 300 micrograms per
cubic meter, three times the “hazardous” level.
Doctors report that: “P10 over 300 is extremely dangerous to lungs and may
even cause cancer induction!.
(see more in Gas Watch 167 ).
Wednesday 5 September, 2012.Gas Watch 166.
$2.5 million worth of lies by APPEA
(The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.) It is official. APPEA has lied in its advertisements supporting unconventional coal seam methane
gas and can no longer be trusted by the Australian Public.
Worst of all, its lies are being given the blessing of Barry O’Farrell and the NSW Government who,
by failing to do anything to support the CSIRO, are protecting this fossil fuel industry at the
expense of the health of the electorate and the environment.
It has been widely reported in today’s press that the CSIRO has asked APPEA to withdraw an
advertisement, part of APPEA’s $2.5M campaign to try and hoodwink the public, which claims that
the nation’s peak scientific group had given coal seam gas a clean bill of health. (see more in Gas Watch 166 ).
Tuesday 3 September, 2012.Gas Watch 165.
HELP SAVE THE HUNTER – before it’s too late.
We have an ineffectual Environment Department which has reported 4 “health
alerts” in the Hunter in the last 8 days, based on air pollution exceeding
National standards, but does nothing about it.
None of us should spend half our lives breathing severely polluted air, when
the pollution can be stopped.
We have a Government which won’t properly consider the cumulative effect of
unconventional coal seam methane gas mining upon the current industrial
polluters of the Hunter Valley, let alone the cumulative effect of the current
polluters on each other... (see more in Gas Watch 165 ).
Tuesday 28 August, 2012.Gas Watch 164.
AGL Energy – one of Australia’s biggest
polluters – shows its evidence to the Senate Enquiry meant nothing
AGL Energy gave evidence before the Senate
Enquiry that it would not force entry onto a
property where the property owner says
“No.” Turns out that wasn’t to be true!
The General Manager of AGL Upstream Gas, Mike Moraza’s evidence to the
Senate Enquiry is recorded in Hansard as being ... (see more in Gas Watch 164 ).
Monday 20 August, 2012.Gas Watch 163.
AGL Energy continues to breach gas Exploration Licence conditions – Government watchdogs do nothing..
AGL Energy has admitted to failing to comply with its Environment Protection Licence at its
massive Camden gas works for a period of 3 years!!!
It has not continually monitored its exhaust gases to ensure they meet the allowable annual emission load
limits. So no-one knows what AGL has been pumping into the atmosphere, or how much pollutant has
It is high time the Government tamed this methane miner, which continues to flout its
environmental responsibilities. There is no room in NSW for the ignoring of Licence conditions.
Licence conditions are there for a reason. There is clearly insufficient regulation, and no
punishment, for this Company, which appears to be laughing at Licence conditions
(see more in Gas Watch 163 ).
,Wednesday 15 August, 2012.Gas Watch 162.
Coal Seam Methane Gas industry underestimates uncontrolled
escape of coal seam methane gas from wellheads by 21,000,000 tonnes a year.
The Australia Institute’s Senior Economist Matt Grudnoff finds that Australia is likely to be
significantly underestimating coal seam gas fugitive emissions by around 62 million tonnes over
Uncontrolled fugitive emissions are something this Alliance has continually warned about, and
something the methane miners have been very quiet about.
The environmental impact of coal seam methane gas exploration, extraction and FRACCING,
particularly on groundwater, fresh water aquifers and upon the soil itself, is well documented
throughout the world, but there is little research in the broader effects of CSG extraction. (see more in Gas Watch 162 ).
Friday, 10 August, 2012.Gas Watch 161.
AGL Energy defies Singleton Council in a display of arrogance.
FRACCING and seismic surveys “will” take place in the winegrowing region of the Hunter,
In a display of arrogance, AGL Energy today stated that they propose to FRAC gas wells
they have drilled on their Bulga property. (see more in Gas Watch 161 ).
Tuesday, 7 August, 2012.Gas Watch 160.
Hunter Valley Council LOCKS THE GATE to coal seam methane exploration and mining. An application from AGL Energy to conduct seismic testing on Singleton Council Roads,
“WILL BE DECLINED
in line with the resolution”
of Council of 19th March, 2012 re-affirming Council’s opposition to coal seam gas
exploration and mining in the Singleton Local Government area. (General Manager, Singleton
Council letter of 26.7.2012)
Congratulations and thank you to Singleton Council for taking the strong stand that its
electors and ratepayers have been seeking for so long from the State Government
(see more in Gas Watch 160 ).
Monday, 6 August, 2012.Gas Watch 159.
Threat to Hunter Valley Wine Industry – coal mine threatens to wipe
out Hunter Valley village – coal seam methane gas exploration and
extraction the next wave of threat. Any notion that open cut coal mining can co-exist with agriculture is misguided.
It has been proven that there is no possibility of co-existence.
The claims made by the coal mining industry in the 1980s that it could co-exist with
agriculture have been proven to be totally wrong. Prime agricultural land has been, and is
being, destroyed in the headlong plunge into raping productive land for coal and coal seam
Identical claims of co-existence are now being made by the unconventional coal seam
methane gas industry
(see more in Gas Watch 159 ).
Wednesday, 25 July, 2012.Gas Watch 158.
NSW Government left behind in the protection of the Hunter Valley
In a lesson in leadership, the Western Australian Government has issued a blanket ban on
coal mining in the Margaret River winegrowing region of its State, citing the environmental
risks as “unacceptable”.
WA Mines Minister Norman Moore said he had terminated all pending applications for coal
exploration within a 230 radius of Margaret River.
“The Government has now decided that the advice of the (WA) Environmental Protection
Authority that coal mining applications be rejected should also be applied to the whole of
the coal mineralization extending through the identified 230 square kilometre zone and
applications for coal mining should not be supported”, said Mr. Moore.
“This decision sends a clear signal to the industry – applications will not be accepted to
explore or mine coal in this area”.
"This decision sends a clear signal to the industry - applications will not be accepted to explore for
or mine coal in this area"
(see more in Gas Watch 158
Wednesday, 25 July, 2012.Gas Watch 157.
AGL ENERGY ANNOUNCES INDUSTRIALISATION OF RURAL LAND IN THE HUNTER VALLEY.
A “community relations manager” from AGL Energy has produced, she claims, “high level”
answers to questions the community has raised about AGLs intentions regarding coal
seam methane exploration on two of its properties in the Hunter Valley at Bulga and at
Broke, but will only give details at some “upcoming events”?
What they do on their own properties is what they will do on yours, if you
allow them on. Lock your gate. Tell them to leave immediately!
(see more in Gas Watch 157 ).
Wednesday, 25 July, 2012.Gas Watch 156.
MINISTER HARTCHER EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON FRACCING COAL SEAMS. In what is seen by the community as an essential move by the NSW
Government, the moratorium on the dangerous practice of fraccing
coal seams to release methane gas into the environment has been
Minister Hartcher says that the moratorium, which has now twice
been extended, will stay in place until the NSW Chief Scientist &
Engineer has conducted an independent review into the fraccing
(see more in Gas Watch 156 ).
Sunday, 25 June, 2012.Gas Watch 155.
LACK OF PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT BY GOVERNMENT.
AGL Energy, and other coal seam methane miners, are getting away
with environmental vandalism because there is insufficient
protection by the Government.
Why is the Government continuing to protect the unconventional
coal seam methane industry to the detriment of the community?
The Government has agreed in its Audit Report on coal seam
methane gas exploration that: 'The Petroleum Act guideline is not
attuned to the coal seam gas exploration and production conditions.
The Act must be reviewed and amended', but has DONE NOTHING
(see more in Gas Watch 155
continuing to drill for unconventional coal seam methane gas in
areas of high population;
an arrogant attack upon the environment by purposely dumping
salty CSG drilling water onto agricultural land;
acquiring the dirty brown coal power station at Loy Yang;
disposing of sustainable energy assets.
It is claimed that the new commercial (released this week) advertising the 175th anniversary of
AGL highlights community involvement and focus on sustainable energy in Australia today. What
(see more in Gas Watch 154 discuss on
or Twitter )
Monday, 11 June, 2012.Gas Watch 153.
ITS NO WONDER 63% OF VISITORS TO THE HUNTER VALLEY SAID,
IN A RECENT SURVEY, THAT THEY WOULD CONSIDER
BOYCOTTING AGLs ELECTRICITY AND GAS PRODUCTS IF AGL
SET UP GAS FIELDS IN THE HUNTER VALLEY VINEYARDS!
AGL continues to waste its shareholders money and has
another go at ticking the community consultation box in its
effort to drill more methane exploration holes in the Hunter.
After failing to give any information at its recent drilling information
session, AGL is advertising another three.
Trouble is that AGL has completely lost the trust and respect of the
general public, and its probable that nobody will turn up.
AGL continues to treat the public with contempt in its efforts to gain
approval to mine unconventional coal seam methane in the Hunter
(see more in Gas Watch 153 discuss on
or Twitter )
Sunday, 27 May, 2012.Gas Watch 152.
AGL gives no information at its recent information session.
Theyve done it again. Ticked the community consultation box
without actually consulting with the community.
AGL was up to its usual decline to give details (AGL spokeswoman Nicole Rizgalla earlier this month) mantra at the
drop in information session on 24th May at its methane gas site at Bulga, Hunter Valley.
(see more in Gas Watch 152}
RIO TINTO. Part of the cumulative impact on the Hunter Valley of coal and methane mining.
Just digressing from unconventional coal seam methane gas for a moment, Rio Tintos Mt. Thorley
Warkworth coal mine has been fined for significant dust emissions from its mine on 13th May,
2012. Anyone living in Bulga or Broke can tell you that coal mine dust emissions have increased
exponentially over the last couple of years.
It is because the mines are getting seriously behind with their rehabilitation, and nobody is
doing anything about it.
Rio Tinto was fined $3,000. Thats all, $3,000.
(see more in Gas Watch 152
Saturday, 19 May, 2012.Gas Watch 151.
AGL declines to give details of seismic exploration in the Hunter Valley.
In its typical stance against any proper community consultation,
AGL Energy, through its spokeswoman Nicole Rizgalla, has
admitted that it gained approval for its seismic exploration (as
disclosed in Gas Watch 150) but has declined to give details (Singleton
Well the community wants details. The community is sick and tired of AGL keeping it in the dark
and telling the community only what suits AGL.
(see more in Gas Watch 151
Saturday, 12 May, 2012.Gas Watch 150.
OFARRELL GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO APPROVE COAL SEAM METHANE EXPLORATION IN THE HUNTER VALLEY
The NSW Government claims not to have renewed any Coal Seam
Methane Gas Petroleum Exploration Licence since it came into
office BUT it still approves exploration applications and then doesnt tell
It appears it is up to the community to make its own enquiries as to whether or not unconventional
coal seam methane exploration is to continue in its area.
Also hidden away in the AGL website is a note which says: A corehole community information
Drop in Session will be held at AGL's Windermere property at 1946 Putty Rd, Bulga on 24 May
2012. Members of the community are invited to ask questions between 3pm and 6pm regarding
AGL's proposed corehole program. When were they going to let us know? Or do they just tick
the community consultation box saying, we had a Drop in Session and nobody turned up!
(see more in Gas Watch 150,
discuss on Facebook
Wednesday, 9 May, 2012.Gas Watch 149.
EARTHQUAKE IN HUNTER VALLEY. Concerns with fracking coal seams.
Following upon an earthquake near Broke and Bulga in the Hunter
Valley on 29th April, further urgent representations have been made
to the Government to extend the moratorium on fracking coal seams
for methane gas.
The Ministers attention has been brought to the facts that:
Not all chemicals used in the fracking process have yet been examined;
The Broke and Bulga areas of the Hunter Valley are surrounded by underground long wall
mining which scientists have advised is a significant geological risk to the fresh water
aquifers in the event of unconventional coal seam methane gas exploration, drilling and
More international findings in relation to earthquakes resulting from fracking are being
released. The earthquake comes only a week after the handing down of a report in the United States
confirming that earthquakes have been triggered by fracking for shale gas.
Wednesday, 2 May, 2012.Gas Watch 148.
ITS AMAZING HOW MANY LIES YOU CAN SPIN INTO ONE FULL STOP.
This is the New South Minerals Councils pathetic and misleading
advertisement in yesterdays press. See e.g. comments in Miners say land use numbers dont add up.
Perhaps the 0.1% estimate is true, if you measure just the holes in the ground - they don't explain their methods anyway. See Gas Watch 148 for a dose of the reality. Government's own map shows that most of the fertile land in NSW, where people live, is covered by minereal exploration licenses. The map in Gas Watch 148 can be enlarged by right-clicking on it (in Mac Preview) or by resizing the whole PDF document (in Windows Acrobat PDF Reader). This will show the details for your geographical area.
And the mining industry wants us to trust them!!!
Wednesday, 2 May, 2012.Gas Watch 147.
GOVERNMENT PROMISES TO PROTECT OUR LAND AND WATER The message I want to leave you all with today is this: if any
proposed mining or gas extraction activity is likely to harm our
prime agricultural land or other important rural industry clusters or
the water resources associated with those areas, it will not go ahead
under this Government. said Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner at the "Protect Our Land and Water Rally in Sydney on 1st of May, 2012.
We expect the Government to deliver on this promise. The current Draft Land Use Policy does not protect our land and water, and particularly does not
protect our Hunter Valley from the ravages of the unconventional coal seam methane gas industry ... (see more in Gas Watch 147 ).
Sunday, 15 April, 2012.The'Real' Facts about CSG Campaign.
New HVPA videos on YouTube
The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) has launched its response to
the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's (APPEA) "We want coal seam gas (CSG)"
campaign -- revealing what it believes are the 'real facts' about CSG mining and the detrimental impact
it will have on regional areas such as the Hunter Valley and its iconic wine and tourism districts.
Please share our videos.
Sunday, 15 April, 2012.Gas Watch 146.
Government announces mining has no place in Hunter vineyards.
Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has labelled AGL and other methane gas miners as
"loopy" and says they are "wasting shareholders' money" if they seek to mine in the
Hunters Strategic Agricultural Land (SAL).
It was the Minister's extraordinary attack, at a Community Forum this week, that
AGL and others are wasting their shareholders' money, which continues to confuse
(see more in Gas Watch 146 ).
Friday, 13 April, 2012.Launch of a new book about Coal Seam Gas.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO A BOOK LAUNCH FOR "DIRTY FRACKING BUSINESS"
Peter Ralph is coming to the Hunter Valley to launch and sign copies of his new book. Please come along to meet Peter, hear him speak and share your CSG experiences.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO STAY FOR A WOOD-FIRED PIZZA, PLEASE BRING A BOWL OF PIZZA TOPPINGS (EG., SALAMI, HAM, CAPSICUM, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS ...)
Friday, 13 April, 2012.Gas Watch 145.
SYDNEY RALLY 1st May, 2012. Protect Our Land And Water. NSW Farmers is organising a massive rally Protect OurLand And Water. 1st May, 2012 in Martin Place marching to NSW Parliament.
Marshall in Martin Place between 11.45 am and 12.15 pm.
The HVPA, amongst many other organisations, industry and community leaders,
landowners and concerned citizens supports this rally and we ask as many of you
as possible to take part. After arriving at Parliament House, there will be speakers
and the rally will be over by 1.30 pm.
Tuesday, 10 April, 2012.Gas Watch 144.
AGL now knocking on doors near you
Farmer's are not the only ones putting up signs to keep AGL away from their properties.
Residents of major cities are now being advised - officially - to put signs on their doors to keep out
pesky AGL Sales representatives.
This breed of AGL operative is a little less harmless - they don't seek to destroy your natural
environment, and livelihood - they're just programmed to sell you AGL generated power - whether
you want it or not
COUNTRY - BEWARE :
AGL Energy has also renewed their practice of knocking on doors in the Hunter Valley seeking the
consent of property owners to permit AGL to invade their properties for their continued exploration
for unconventional coal seam methane.
All owners who have contacted this Alliance report that they have told AGL that they are not
interested in talking to them. They have locked their gate (see more in Gas Watch 144 ).
Tuesday, 10 April, 2012.Gas Watch 143.
AGL fails to comply with Exploration
Licence conditions. Whats AGL Energy up to at the moment?
1. Failing to comply with licence conditions in both of its
Petroleum Exploration Licences affecting the Hunter Valley
wine country (Report on Audit of Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licences in
NSW Phase 2)
2. Breaching its licence conditions by dumping hundreds of
thousands of litres of salt contaminated water onto pasture
... ( see more in Gas Watch 143 ).
Monday, 27 March, 2012.The'Real' Facts about CSG Campaign.
New HVPA videos on YouTube
The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance (HVPA) has launched its response to
the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's (APPEA) "We want coal seam gas (CSG)"
campaign -- revealing what it believes are the 'real facts' about CSG mining and the detrimental impact
it will have on regional areas such as the Hunter Valley and its iconic wine and tourism districts.
Please share our videos.
Monday, 19 March, 2012.Gas Watch 142.
Singleton Council slams coal seam gas
exploration by AGL ENERGY in the Hunter
Immediately after AGL told tonights Singleton Council meeting how they
proposed to increase their exploration footprint by extending their exploration
outside their exploration licence area into the Singleton Army Base and into
the Pokolbin State Forest, that was enough for the Councillors.
AGL sent three of its junior staff to Singleton Council tonight to present its spin on its seismic
exploration for unconventional coal seam methane in the Singleton Local Government Area. They got more than they bargained for.(see more in Gas Watch 142 ).
Saturday, 17 March, 2012.Gas Watch 141.
Based on its own figures, AGL Energy says there is at most only
2 and a half years worth of gas for NSW under the Hunter Valley.
Yet AGL is prepared to risk the precious fresh water aquifers, the
environment, a sustainable and green industry and the jobs of tens of
thousands, just to get its hands on it. All of these things could be lost forever
there would be no turning back.
(see more in Gas Watch 141 ).
Tuesday, 6 March, 2012.Gas Watch 140.
Hunter Valley Vineyard regions declared
STRATEGIC AGRICULTURAL LAND".
You would think this declaration would be enough for AGL to take the socially and
environmentally responsible decision to abandon its continuing ravaging of what is now
accepted by the Government as strategic agricultural land. And maybe it will. We look
forward to AGL considering its position and making the responsible decision (see more in Gas Watch 140 ).
Monday, 5 March, 2012.Gas Watch 139.
AGL Energy spin on water
contamination exposed as a lie.AGL claims are debunked by experts.
For a long time now AGL has been saying that their water tests show that there will
be no connectivity of contaminated salty water from the coal seams with the upper
fresh water aquifers in the Hunter Valley.
Their own peer reviewer, Professor Garry Willgoose from the University of
Newcastle says this is not true; that you cannot extrapolate the results of one
experimental water test near the village of Broke, across the whole of the Hunter
Valley. In fact he says that the experiment only applies to the area immediately
around the test bore (say 50 metres the cone of depression).
Friday, 2 March, 2012.Gas Watch 138.
NSW 2021 Regional Action Plan A State Government Initiative.
BARRY OFARRELL: Through this plan, the people of NSW can hold me and
my team accountable for our achievements against our commitments.
On Wednesday evening we attended the NSW Governments community discussion evening at
Maitland where they sought community input into Regional Action Plans.
You can go to http://2021.nsw.gov.au/ to have a look at the priorities raised by the community for
the Hunter, and you can go to www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/topic/hunter if you want to have input
into the Regional Action Plan.
The 5 main priorities to come out of the forum were, although this will change after each meeting:
Economic growth diversify the economy, support clean tech industries, promote tourism,
build critical infrastructure, skills development.
Planning for the Newcastle CBD revitalize the city, rail decision, all levels of government to
work together, remove red tape that works against development.
Environment protection best environmental practice in mining and coal seam gas.
Liveability more affordable housing, improved transport links, attract events to the region.
Support the most vulnerable members of our community.
(see more in Gas Watch 138 ).
Wednesday, 22 February, 2012.Gas Watch 137.
AGL SHAREHOLDERS Must be livid.
AGL Energy shareholders should be livid at its company for gambling millions of their
dollars on a bet they've been told they will lose. It's one thing to lose money accidentally.
But when a Government gives you advance warning, it is completely gob-smacking. It's like
betting on a horse you've been told will not even make the race.
AGL's wild and misguided exploration spending spree in Broke and Bulga is based entirely
on the belief of AGL that the current Government Ministers lied in their pre-election
promises to protect the winegrowing regions of the Hunter Valley. (see more in Gas Watch 137 ).
Wednesday, 15 February, 2012. HVPA STALLS AT BROKE AND BULGA THIS SATURDAY On Saturday 18th Feb next to the Broke Fire Station from 11 am to 4 pm.
... Same day and same hours at Bulga, in the village. Look for the marquees.
Come along and get a sign for your gate, a sticker for your car, or a T shirt. LOCK THE GATE.
When the Dooralong/Yarramalong Valleys successfully drove Sydney Gas away,
saving the beauty of their area, they had a sign on pretty much every gate.
It showed that the landholders would not have a bar of this insidious fossil fuel.
It showed they were united in their opposition to coal seam methane gas mining and in
saving their community. They were right and they were successful.
If this industry goes ahead in Broke and Bulga, it is quite probable that a massive
industrial gas processing plant will be built right next to Broke village, let alone all the other damage
to the local environment.
Please come along and be part of driving AGL out of the area.
Thursday, 9 February, 2012.Gas Watch 136.
FRACKING Macquarie Dictionary peoples choice for
the word of t he year 2011.
CONGRATULATIONS all you voters for the Macquarie Dictionary word of the year for 2011. It worked. All your votes clearly counted.
The Macquarie Dictionary Peoples choice for the word of 2011 is FRACKING.
Full details can be found at:http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/anonymous@919D957851619/-/p/dict/WOTY11/index.html
And by way of note, just a reminder that Mike Moraza, the General Manager of Coal Seam
Methane Mining for AGL Energy, says that only 0.5% of the fracking liquid injected into a well is
made up of chemicals.
If, as Moraza says, there will be between 100 and 300 wells at Broke/Bulga if he has his way,
then that is between 500,000 and 1,500,000 litres of unknown chemicals being injected into
the ground in the fracking process.
(see more in Gas Watch 136 ).
Thursday, 9 February, 2012.Gas Watch 135.
AGL ENERGY and other contaminated water
leakage from CSG exploration.
AGL Energy dumping of saline water onto pasture: In late 2010 AGL Energy admitted deliberately dumping 110,000 litres of contaminated water onto
pasture, killing the pasture, in breach of its licence conditions. Witnesses say closer to 500,000
litres was dumped. Either way, this is a huge amount of water.
Eastern Star Gas escape of groundwater in the Pilliga.Water contamination in the Pilliga has been happening for a decade or more. This recent spill is
In late 2000, according to the CM Atkinson report, contaminated water seeped through a sandy
dam wall, then, when the dam wall collapsed, flooded the surrounding area of the Pilliga with a
sodic/saline liquid through the subsoil and shallow aquifers. Trees and vegetation were killed
(see more in Gas Watch 135 ).
Friday, 3 February, 2012.Gas Watch 134.
AGL ENERGY the latest lessons in avoiding
By accident, we have just noticed on the Department of Defence website that AGL has
applied to the Commonwealth Government for permission to explore for coal seam
methane gas on the Army Base at Singleton (Document No 2011/1063947).
No mention of this has been made to the affected community. No community consultation,
Typical of the secretive attitude of these coal seam methane miners to gain approvals, and
then notify the community and pretend that it is involved in the community and in
community consultation (see more in Gas Watch 134 ).
Friday, 3 February, 2012.Gas Watch 133.
AGL ENERGY are shareholders investments
based on a gamble that the State Government is a liar ?
Either AGL a publicly listed Australian Company which is subject to tough listing and
Australian Company laws
is basing its entire Hunter Upstream Gas business model on the belief that the
Government has lied to the community in its pre-election promises; or
there is a secret understanding between AGL and the State Government.
Well, no matter how you look at it, these must be the only two alternatives - and both of them
should sit very uncomfortably with all Australians. Either alternative is quite simply extraordinary in
a first world country like Australia.
If either one of these statements is false, then AGL would clearly not be in the Hunter Valley
exploring for coal seam methane gas. (see more in Gas Watch 133 ).
Wednesday, 25 January, 2012. HVPA Meeting with ABC Landline at Margans
We have been negotiating with ABC Landline to film a show relating to the effect of coal seam methane gas mining on the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.
They will be in the Hunter all next week filming and interviewing. We are having a meeting of the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance
on Wednesday, 1st February, 2012 at 5.30 pm at Margans Barrel room, 1238 Milbrodale Road, BROKE.
It is an information evening to update all members on where we are with our current dealings with the Government and with AGL.
It is essential that we have a huge roll up. We want to fill the barrel room for the cameras.
Please be there. Only for an hour or so. It's important.
Could you let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are coming so we can arrange seating. If you decide only at the last minute that you can come, then please still do so.
SEE YOU THERE.
Wednesday, 25 January, 2012.Gas Watch 132.
AGL ENERGY the community information
session that didnt happen seismic exploration.
A small number of people turned up to the 5 pm information session at the AGL propaganda shop in
Singleton in response to AGLs advertising the session on seismic exploration, only to be told that there was
to be no information session at all, despite it being advertised as such.
It appears the advertising was just a means of getting people into the AGL shop so they can tick the box of
There were 6 or 7 people who turned up at 5 pm. AGL will spin the lack numbers by either saying that noone
is interested enough, or that everyone is happy with their plans. (see more in Gas Watch 132 ).
Monday, 23 January, 2012.Gas Watch 131 AGL ENERGY community information session seismic exploration.
AGL has advertised that it is to hold an information and consultation session at their
Information and Propaganda Centre at 85B John Street, Singleton on 24th January, next at 5 pm.
We are assuming that the date and the time are correct. Unfortunately AGL has put the incorrect
web site address, that is their very own website which they couldnt get right, in their advert. They
have advertised www.agl.com/huntergasproject
and it should in fact read
Whether this was done purposely or not, we dont know. Are they trying to avoid people actually
attending the information session? (see all in Gas Watch 131 ).
Monday, 16 January, 2012. New HVPA Brochure Distributed.
We have forwarded copies of the latest HVPA Brochure
"Protect the Hunter Valley from the Coal Seam Gas Mining"
(download here as PDF) to NSW Government politicians and regulators
(see cover letter). The same document has been forwarded to AGL Energy directors
(see letter text).
An opinion piece "CSG: Short Term Gains Not Worth Long Term Risks"
was submitted to the Newcastle Herald for publication
last week (read the article).
Sunday, 15 January, 2012.Gas Watch 130. AGL ENERGY expulsion of methane gas miner from Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association -
the activities of AGL in connection with coal seam gas have the very real potential to
cause irremediable and permanent damage to viticulture, and is contrary to the interests of
licensed vignerons in the Hunter Valley
the Committee was unanimous in its conclusion that AGL accordingly had persistently
and willfully acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the Association (paragraph 4
of the Associations Statement of Objects: must actively protect the dominance of grape
growing in existing grape growing areas of the Hunter Valley.)
These were the reasons given by the respected Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association (HVWIA)
in expelling coal seam methane gas miner AGL Energy as a member of the Association, after
meeting with the AGL General Manager of Coal Seam Methane Gas exploration, Mike Moraza,
and considering a lengthy submission by AGL. This resolution was notified to AGL on 8th
December giving AGL 14 days from that date to appeal in accordance with the Constitution of the
AGL has elected not to appeal and the expulsion is now confirmed. (see all in Gas Watch 130 ).
Sunday, 1 January, 2012.Gas Watch 129. Government must protect winegrowing in the Hunter.
The community has called upon the Government to protect the winegrowing region of the Hunter
from inappropriate development, including from coal seam methane mining fields, following the
leads from the South Australian Government protection the Barossa Valley and Maclaren Vale, and
the Western Australian Government protecting the Swan Valley and Margaret River winegrowing
areas (see all in Gas Watch 129 ).
Wednesday, 21 December, 2011.Gas Watch 128. A photographic journey through 2011.
This Gas Watch presents just a few photographs of the many which can be viewed
in the HVPA Facebook Gallery.
They show why we are fighting AGL Energy and uncontrolled coal mining expansion in this valley
Wednesday, 7 December, 2011.AGL Energy Blockade at Gloucester.
This afternoon local landholders and residents in Gloucester launched a blockade to stop coal seam gas
company AGL from putting a drill rig into place. The blockade is at the intersection of Jacks Road and
Maslens Lane Gloucester.
AGLs 330 well coal seam gas project was approved in the last days of the previous government despite
the fact that no independent study of groundwater hydrology had been undertaken said Barrington-
Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance spokesperson, Graeme Healy.
The Gloucester-Stroud Valley is particularly vulnerable to environmental damage by gas extraction
because of its complex pattern of geological faults and shears creates an exceptionally high risk of gas
migration and water table damage.
Attached is an invitation from Mike Moraza of AGL to a community briefing on the work they have done with respect to groundwater in the lower Hunter Valley area – principally around Broke. The study was originated by BCCC and financed by AGL. As far as I'm aware this is the first time that such a study has been done associated with coal seam gas exploration. While it only applies to a localised area (say 200m) around the test sites, it does demonstrate the lack of connectivity between aquifers and the coal seams targeted a coal seam gas exploration. AGL has offered to brief the community on this, so we would like to bring this to your attention recommend that if you are interested you make the time available to attend.The invitation is attached – you will need to RSVP.
Additional information from the AGL's water study can be found in this report.
Hunter Valley Protection Alliance Committee recommends that HVPA members attend the briefing. We shall come, listen and ask questions. We shall also let AGL in no doubt that they are not welcome here. There are many other downsides to the CSG industry then just the long term negative and cumulative effects on the ground water aquifers. There are health effects of noise from drilling and compressor stations, air pollution from dust and fugitive emission, rural roads congestion and traffic hazards, diminishing of local property values, stress and uncertainty for local residents. CSG offers no upsides for us! AGL so far has not demonstrated that they have a social license to operate in this valley.
Monday, 7 November, 2011.Gas Watch 126. AGL Energy stand down until the science is known.
The call for, at the very least, a moratorium on coal seam methane mining is growing. Kevin Humphries, Member for Barwon, says, in relation to CSM and agriculture: You cant compromise an existing industry thats exceptionally vibrant for the sake, potentially, of another and further we dont know enough about the industry yetyouve got aquifers which could potentially be interfered with or damaged and importantly were asking in good faith, until we can get the regulations right and theres a better planeveryone should just stand down. ( read more in Gas Watch 126 ).
Thursday, 30 October, 2011.Gas Watch 125. AGL Energy removes community owned protest signs.
Not only is AGL now taking down community protest signs from properties in an obvious
attempt to illegally and childishly shut down community concerns, but management is now
stooping to blame junior staff this just highlights the complete lack of regard, concern and
sense of responsibility for their activities.
AGL is now not only playing with the environment in the Hunter, but they are using illegal means
to control the debate. It's just another story showing that this company has no concern, indeed has
apparent contempt, for its surroundings and for the community
( read more in Gas Watch 125 ).
Monday, 30 October, 2011.Gas Watch 124. AGL advertises more, possibly damaging,
seismic exploration for coal seam methane in Broke and Bulga. Last time
Seismic Surveys were conducted, the local road network was significantly damaged when
the survey was conducted outside the Governmental approval,
to the extent that the Singleton Council required that the Sydney Gas/AGL pay for the repairs.
The September Seismic proposal newsletter from coal seam methane miner AGL has kicked off
its campaign to conduct seismic surveys on public roads
and on private property.
Typically AGL does not identify which roads
or which private property until
the very last minute, usually not until after approval by the Government following upon
the grossly inadequate Review of Environmental Factors procedure.
Sydney Gas/AGL couldnt be trusted to work within its approval then. Whats different now?
DO NOT SIGN AN ACCESS AGREEMENT and AGL cannot come onto your private land to pursue its seismic survey.
LOCK THE GATE! ( read more in Gas Watch 124 ).
Thursday, 20 October, 2011.Gas Watch 123. AGL Energys foray into buying vineyards: Brian McGuigan says Nick Greiner is wrong.
Were not really sure what evidence Greiner claims to be relying on, or what Greiner knows about viticulture, but it appears he is quite wrong say 100% wrong when the former NSW Premier is today reported to have said:
the evidence from my old vineyard suggests that wine and gas can co-exist.
Brian McGuigan, an icon and living legend of the Hunter Valley wine industry and whose company manages Greiners former Spring Mountain vineyard at the vineyard village of Broke in the Hunter Valley on behalf of AGL Energy, says:
I am of the view that coal seam methane gas fields and viticulture are not compatible land uses
McGuigan says this even though he is on AGLs payroll.
( read more in Gas Watch 123 ).
Tuesday, 18 October, 2011.Gas Watch 122. AGL Energy: Avoiding community consultation –
dictating to and bullying the community.
AGL General Manager of methane mining, Mike Moraza, was apparently hiding in the executive residence at
the former Pooles Rock vineyard at Broke during the National Day of Action protest against coal seam
methane gas mining on Sunday 16th October.
He has since claimed that he heard matters raised by speakers which he thought
were wrong, but he did not see fit to come on down and address the rally.
This Company, AGL Energy, has no idea how to deal with a community.
They dont understand the depth of community sentiment.
After buying the former Pooles Rock a week or so go, AGL announced in a Media release yesterday
that they had purchased another couple of thousand acres next door to Pooles Rock.
AGL didnt speak to the community about this, merely announced it in the press ...
( read more in Gas Watch 122 ).
Monday, 17 October, 2011.Gas Watch 121. AGL Energy: Invading Broke and Bulga with threats of hundreds of methane extraction wells.
The National Day of Action backed by Lock the Gate Inc., was a resounding success across Australia.
Thousands of people turned out in most States to show the Government that it is the people who tell the Government how to approach the coal seam methane gas invasion, not the coal seam methane miners.
The rally at Broke attracted 400 people. Not bad for a town with a population of just over 500 residents, adults and children
( read more in Gas Watch 121 ).
Friday, 14 October, 2011.Gas Watch 120. AGL Energy: THE DIMINISHING WELLS. Dont be fooled by their spin.
One hundred (100) extraction wells. Thats what AGL is claiming it now needs to extract methane gas
from the coal seams under Broke and Bulga.
Having spun their needs down from 300 to 100, some now have been convinced that it wont be such a problem for
this tranquil side of the Hunter after all.
First, dont believe the 100 wells. This is at best a guess, the exploration still hasn'tt been done.
It could be thousands, as in Queensland.
But even if it is 100 wells, nobody knows what will happen under the ground once AGL gets started.
The risks still exist as much as ever. The coal seam methane industry doesnt know what it is doing.
Senator Heffernan recently said that the behaviour of the CSMG industry is like NASA sending a man to the moon
and trying to work out how to get him back whilst he was on his way ...
( read more in Gas Watch 120 ).
COMMENT: Another interesting fact debunking the AGL's spin came to light at the Gunnedah
Food Security Forum. Peter Martin (Southern Highlands) worked previously on the North Sea oil/gas rigs.
He observed that the productivity of a SINGLE conventional high-pressure gas well, such as those on
the Australian Northwest Shelf, is equivalent to 400 (!) of the on-shore CSMG wells.
Can you believe that AGL is going into all these troubles with buying properties to gain
a gas production of ONE QUARTER of a SINGLE conventional off shore well?
Friday, 14 October, 2011.Gas Watch 119. NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST COAL SEAM METHANE GAS EXTRACTION. All over Australia Sunday 16th October, 2011 hundreds of community organisations thousands of people.
Here at Broke at 11 am on Sunday 16th October, our Communitys National Day
of Action rally against Coal Seam Methane Gas extraction will be outside the former
Pooles Rock vineyard about 3 kilometres from Broke along the Wollombi Road.
Government what the people want, not what is best for politicians to win the next election. ( read more in Gas Watch 119 ).
Tuesday, 4 October, 2011.Gas Watch 118. AGL Energy: Buying more land at Broke because
landholders have Locked their Gates.
Coal Seam Methane
Gas Mining Company AGL Energy has just bought the legendary Pooles Rock Vineyard at Broke in the Hunter Valley
from the executors of the estate of the late David Clarke, former Chairman of Macquarie Bank and active coal
seam methane gas objector.
It appears that AGL is unable to obtain access from landowners and therefore has not only bought Pooles Rock
but is negotiating with other large landowners in the area to purchase their properties. This purchase, and any others, paves the way to put hundreds of wells between Broke and Wollombi. Sydney Gas said 300 wells, AGL says 100 wells, but depending on the flow rate of methane gas from the coal seams, it could be thousands,
say one every 500 metres or so leaving the Hunter Valley to look like Chinchilla...
THE FUTURE OF YOUR HEALTH AND PROPERTY IS NOT SAFE IF YOU LIVE IN A GAS EXPLORATION AREA!
( read more in Gas Watch 118 ).
SEE ALSO ARTICLE IN NEWCASTLE HERALD: http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/vineyard-sold-to-gas-firm/2313192.aspx