Recent Images

AGL DRILLING AGAIN! Photo taken on 16 th March, 2010 at Spring Mountain Vineyard, just near the vineyard village of Broke

AGL Energy wants to drill for coal seam methane gas
this close
to the township of Broke in the Hunter Valley

Sydney Gas is prepared to flare methane gas test wells less then 300 meters from the Broke primary school!

Sydney Gas: "OK Let's negotiate! Where Would you like me to kick you?"

Members of HVPA protest against the waste of Singleton water by Sydney Gas (7 June, 2007 just before floods)

Click on the image of Todd Butler from Canada and listen to his Coalbed Methane Blues


Hunter Valley Protection Alliance supports RESPONSIBLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

What We Require

  • A Government which will initiate a full, integrated Environmental Assessment of the cumulative impact on the people and the environment of the Hunter Valley

  • A Government which will place a moratorium on further leases and exploration licenses, especially those for open cut mines and coal seam gas methane (CSG) until such time as the Environmental Assessment is concluded

  • A Government which will restore balance to the Hunter Valley respecting the vibrant wine, olive and tourism industries which draw over 3 million visitors each year


Tuesday, 22-December-2009. Gas Watch 76. AGL ENERGY – necessary corrections to recent media releases in Cockfighter ne ws.. In the letters to the Editor of the Cockfighter, AGL Energy mistakenly claimed that its Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) enable it to continue exploration for Coal Seam Methane Gas “over the next 6 years of the Licence terms.” We would like to make some corrections ... (read more in Gas Watch 76 ).


Wednesday, 2-December-2009. Gas Watch 75. AGL has nowhere to go, unless we let them in. A map has been produced by the Broke Bulga Community Consultative Committee. The map is of the Broke and Bulga areas which AGL Energy wants to turn into a gas field. Overlays on the map defining all the buffers required by law around houses, orchards, vineyards, olive groves, water ways, dams and the like, show that AGL has only a very limited area in which to set up their gas wells. It certainly doesn’t look to be anywhere near sufficient to enable a commercial gas extraction enterprise. (read more in Gas Watch 75 ).


Wednesday, 9-September-2009. Gas Watch 74. AGL fails regulatory obligations.

1. AGL 'forced electricity prices higher' – says SMH.

2. AGL accused of “price gouging” by the ACCC – says the ABC.

3. Most needy residents have been the victims of appalling bungling by AGL – says the Herald Sun.

And these reports all in the one day. (read more in Gas Watch 74 ).


Sunday, 21-June-2009. Gas Watch 73. AGL Energy Buys wind farms in SA – but threatens the Hunter Valley with release of another fossil fuel and loss of groundwater.

With great pomp, amid claims of being environmentally conscious, AGL Energy this week announced the purchase of two wind farms in South Australia to produce electricity, but kept silent on its environmental threat to the Hunter Valley with its exploration for that fossil fuel it hopes will replace coal, methane gas .

The black underbelly of this claimed green company is the threat to precious water supplies as it careers forward drilling through water tables running the risk of contamination or loss of water supplying viticulture, agriculture and life in the Hunter Valley (read more in Gas Watch 73 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Wednesday, 17-May-2009. Gas Watch 72. AGL Energy: Fails to deny intention to build a gas processing plant on its Hunter Valley properties. You will regularly see AGL Energy espousing greener energy, hydro, wind, solar; but here’s their real underbelly – another fossil fuel – coal seam methane gas release, with all its proven dangers, and all within 200 metres of the Broke village.

On ABC Radio Newcastle this morning, the AGL Energy General Manager Upstream Gas, Mike Moraza, failed to deny that AGL Energy proposed to construct an industrial complex on one of its increasing number of holdings in this closely settled, tranquil and rural area of the Hunter Valley (read more in Gas Watch 72 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Saturday, 13-May-2009. Gas Watch 71. AGL ENERGY buys two more properties in Broke/Bulga. Forcing the community to unite against them. It appears, that AGL ENERGY is becoming as devious as Sydney Gas ever was. How about this for example:

1. The Land and Property Manager, the junior employee of AGL ENERGY who has been given the task of leading AGL ENERGY at the Community Consultative Committee, told the last CCC meeting that they had bought these two properties; that in addition they had one Access Agreement in place; and that at this point in time they had no intention of making any further land acquisitions.

2. In another forum, on almost the same day, senior executives of AGL ENERGY declared: that they intend to purchase another 2 properties; that they have 32 Access Agreements in place; that they plan to achieve everything they want in the Broke/Bulga area.

So much for truth! So much for Community Consultation! (read more in Gas Watch 71 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Friday 12-June-2009. It’s no from AGL Singleton Argus   published a report from the lively Council Meeting on Tuesday 9 June, 2009. Singleton Council received a reply to their letter to AGL Energy concerning the coal seam methane exploration at Broke.

The reply from land and approvals manager for AGL, Siobhan Barry, states that AGL does not support the excision of any part of the lease that it holds. Ms Barry also said that AGL would not be carrying out an environmental assessment on its test wells, as it had completed one in 2004, and is not required by the State Government to carry out another.

As a result of the correspondence, Singleton Council has resolved to write a letter to AGL expressing its disappointment with the response to the issues council had raised.

Discuss on HVPA forum


Tuesday, 12-May-2009. Gas Watch 70. Letter to Cockfighter from local resident. Ed Larkin from Broke wrote to the last Cockfighter airing his concerns about a number of things which are worrying him, one of which was the “gas action group”. He opened his concern by stating that “I would bet not one of you have jumped in the car and driven to Camden to inspect your so called eyesore” etc., etc.

On 7th February, 2008, Sydney Gas invited the community to inspect its Camden coal seam methane gas processing plant (see Google Earth image ). A number of community members attended the inspection and it was their unanimous view that we must continue our resistance to having such a plant built right next to our village ....(read more in Gas Watch 70 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Monday, 27-April-2009. Gas Watch 69. AGL ENERGY!“Back to the very worst of Sydney Gas.” It appears that it is now impossible to receive a response, if you write to AGL ENERGY, from anybody other the Land and Approvals Manager. You know, the staff level of the former Hind Kourouche of SGL. And when a local resident wrote to the General Manager, Upstream Gas, AGL, requesting a response to 13 questions and concerns, she received a letter from this Lands and Approvals Manager, full of motherhood statements, but with no response at all, not even a mention, to any of the questions. (read more in Gas Watch 69 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Monday, 27-April-2009. Gas Watch 68. AGL ENERGY! “Does this company have an environmental and social conscience, or is it just Sydney Gas all over again?” Broke Village Store was the site for a show of community strength and unity, in opposition to the real dangers which the activities of AGL ENERGY pose to the local environment and to the village and residents of Broke. Many questions were asked on the night in an information and fundraiser night on 24th April .... (read more in Gas Watch 68 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


(click here to see the whole poster ).

Enquiries: Kim on 0428 406801



Wednesday, 8-April-2009. Gas Watch 67. AGL ENERGY! “METHANE GAS COULD KILL THE HUNTER VALLEY!” On 6th and 7th April we had a couple of people outside AGL Energy Headquarters at 101 Miller Street, North Sydney. They were there for a couple of hours as the employees arrived, and for a couple of hours at lunch time each day. One with signs and handing out pamphlets. The other as the Grim Reaper, which is how we see AGL ENERGY in respect of its actions at Broke in regard to the water tables and in relation to the risk of methane gas explosion and migration. We intend to make random appearances at the AGL ENERGY offices (read more in Gas Watch 67 ).

Discuss on HVPA forum


Friday, 3-April-2009. NEW CAMPAIGN STARTS

With the AGL takeover of Sydney Gas now complete the new campaign has begun. We have changed our name to Hunter Valley Protection Alliance and started to distribute new signs:

Here are our reasons for starting this campaign


Wednesday, 25-March-2009. Gas Watch 66. Rehabilitation!
In the Argus on 24th March, ’09 Mark Harper, still the GM it appears of Sydney Gas, is reported to have said in relation to the water bores Sydney Gas has been drilling for the past week or so: “rehabilitation of the area including the planting of some grass was completed on Friday”.

We went to check it out today and expected to see a nice smooth area, but all we saw were lumps, tyre tracks, depressions, dust… We took a couple of snaps ...(read Gas Watch 66 ).

Tuesday, 10-March-2009. Gas Watch 65. Who is out of step here?
Department of Environment and Climate Change: "As groundwater is extracted (from coal seams) it also depletes natural groundwater reserves and aquifers which can have consequences for other regional land uses which may experience a loss of net usable water. This is particularly relevant for farmers who rely on bore water. One solution can be to reinject recovered water back into aquifers. This can however contaminate these groundwater aquifers"
Sydney Gas:
“You have nothing to worry about. You are stupid and ignorant”.
(read all in Gas Watch 65 )


Monday, 9-March-2009. Gas Watch 64. " I'M THE ENEMY"- Colin Stace, Land and Community advisor, Sydney Gas Ltd. Today, 9th March, Sydney Gas (currently being taken over by AGL Energy) started drilling water bores on land at the vineyard village of Broke in the Hunter Valley.
Whilst we were sitting talking to NBN television in the Broke village today, this spokesman for Sydney Gas walked past and said: "I'm the enemy." Twice. (read more in Gas Watch 64 ).


Monday, 2-March-2009. BROKE COMMUNITY UPDATE Sydney Gas advised HVPA by an official email ( view or download PDF) that two drilling rigs will arrive at their Broke site on Monday, 9 March, 2009 to commence drilling of test water bores. They claim that this operation is taking place "following consultation with the Bulga Community Consultative Committee (BCCC)".
In fact, there was not all that much consultation, since the BCCC meeting scheduled for February, 2009 was postponed at the SGL's request. As outlined in our Gas Watch 61, 62 and 63 we are not comfortable with this operation and almost all of our questions to SGL remain unanswered.
There are hundreds of horror stories from overseas where methane gas exploration went wrong (see e.g. Journey of the FORSAKEN. ) Many times people's lives, their health, homes, land and fresh water were destroyed in the process of the extraction of methane gas. We simply cannot understand why SGL insists on going with their coal seam methane exploration so close to our township and river (see detailed picture here ).


Wednesday, 18-February-2009. Gas Watch 63. Sydney Gas (now a part of AGL Energy) keep Broke in the dark ! Cunningly, and living up to its controversial reputation of not fully informing the community, Sydney Gas/AGL Energy:

  • Has not told us what WILL happen if our town water table does disappear into the coal seams;
  • Has not told us how they propose to dispose of the toxic water they extract from the coal seam;
  • Has not told us what they propose to do with the leaking METHANE gas;
  • Has claimed that this study is in the interests of the village;
  • Has claimed that it is only a study in relation to core hole impact, when it is nothing of the sort. It is in relation to test drilling and taking water from the coal seams under the village;
  • Has not informed us of the terms of reference of the appointment of Professor Willgoose; 

If Sydney Gas/AGL was taking the “concerns of the community seriously” it, quite simply, wouldn't’t be drilling immediately next to Broke Village , or any other residential area for that matter (read more in Gas Watch 63 ).

Wednesday 18-February-2009. Water Study For Broke. Sydney Gas published a front page article in the Singleton Argus yesterday ( copy attached).
See how cunningly Sydney Gas:
  . has not told us what will happen if our town water table does disappear into the coal seam
  . has not told us what they propose to do with the toxic water they extract from the gas
  . has not told us what they propose to do with the leaking gas
  . The article opens with a lie. This is not to see effect of core hole drilling, it is to see
    the effect of extracting water from coal seams in an exploration well!!
This is just more spin from Sydney Gas, but now very serious and right under our village.

"This irresponsible tampering with the village's underground water supply risks the future of the Broke village as a place to live. It is unacceptable and the community is asking the Government to ensure that Sydney Gas stops its drilling right next to the village." (see full text of our media release here).


Wednesday, 11-February-2009. Gas Watch 62. Sydney Gas back to old ways - breaching undertaking made to the community; threatening our underground water supply; risking exploding methane gas near the Broke public school. Broke village is in danger from any one of METHANE gas explosion, METHANE gas seepage, and contamination or loss of our underground water. Why won't Sydney Gas adhere to its undertaking not to activate these wells until there has been a full water study? Why won't Sydney Gas agree to a full Environmental Assessment which would be available for public scrutiny and scrutiny by other Government Departments? What has Sydney Gas got to hide? (read more in Gas Watch 62 ).


Wednesday, 12-February-2009. Gas Watch 61. Sydney Gas/AGL assure community - no further action on Broke Village wells until independent water study completed. Sydney Gas, the minor Coal Seam METHANE gas explorer now being swallowed up by AGL Energy, has assured the community, through the Community Consultative Committee (CCC), that:

"there will be no further activity related to the METHANE gas wells near the Broke Village until an independent water study is completed. "

However, activity at the well site last week was noticed and Sydney Gas asked “why?” They said that it was only a surveyor setting out fencing! So perhaps there will be no activity on the wells until the middle of the year, as they have claimed.

But it always makes us suspicious when the CCC meeting is postponed at the request of Sydney Gas. Last time Sydney Gas had the meeting postponed, from recollection, core hole 3 at Bulga was approved (read more in Gas Watch 61 ).

Wednesday, 4-February-2009. Gas Watch 60. ACCC asks Sydney Gas to change its "green" claims. Late last year, this Group asked the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to investigate the claims by Sydney Gas that "Coal Seam Methane natural gas is a clean burning and a "green form" of energy". We all know that this is simply nonsense. ACCC twisted and turned but in the end requested SGL to AMEND their website (read more in Gas Watch 60 ).

Thursday, 29-January-2009. Gas Watch 59. CO2 emissions from METHANE equal to those from 121,440,000 motor cars. Sydney Gas will be passing on to AGL Energy its claim that it has discovered 10,000 petajoules of extractable METHANE gas under the Hunter.If 10,000 petajoules of METHANE gas is burnt, it will release nearly 528,000,000 tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere, accelerating global warming. This is equal to the emissions from 121,440,000 additional motor vehicles being released onto the roads ... (read more in Gas Watch 59 ).