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11:32 AM . 18 April 2014


Zodiac Files: Taurus is the kind of friend who…..

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12:24 PM . 17 April 2014


NSW Minerals Council head Stephen Galilee (The Australian, April 14, page 21) is right in calling for economic vandals to be jailed.

The heads of some of the coal mining companies he represents could do with some time to ­reflect on the economic and environmental vandalism their careless practices are doing.

It is hard to image a more ­blatant case of economic vandalism than that of Morwell in Victoria where failed rehabilitation and poor management contributed to a fire burning out of control in a coalmine for weeks, spewing toxic smoke over the ­adjoining town. People were forced to flee their homes due to the health risks. The economic damage of such an incident is ­incalculable.

Whitehaven Coal, the company behind the Maules Creek mine in NSW, has been repeatedly fined by the Environmental Protection Authority for discharging polluted water into local creeks. The fines have been little more than a slap on the wrist. This is the area my family has farmed for six generations.

And then we have the uranium contamination of an aquifer in the NSW Pilliga by coal-seam gas miner Santos, which earned the company a paltry $1500 fine.

But Mr Galilee would rather punish the farmers, knitting grandmas and other concerned citizens who blockade mine ­machinery in a desperate bid to protect the health of their children and prevent any further damage to the lifeblood of the nation, its water resources.

Mr Galilee slams individual members of Lock the Gate as “professional activists”, forgetting that he himself is a “professional activist” paid handsomely to protect the interests of the mining lobby at times against the national interest. And by this I mean the long-term food security of our nation and the protection of water, the one resource we cannot live without.

Mr Galilee criticises Lock the Gate’s Georgina Woods and Carmel Flint for being spokespeople for “various organisations”. Yet he himself is a spokesman for the NSW Minerals Council, a highly politicised lobby group that represents the narrow interests of coalminers.

His background is far more interesting than those he purports to criticise. Mr Galilee was a long-time staffer and adviser to various Liberal government ministers, both state and federal.

In November 2010, an ICAC report into the corruption risks involved in lobbying in NSW recommended that former staff of ministers and parliamentary secretaries be banned for a year from lobbying activities related to any matter they had had official dealings with in the past year.

The recommendation, which was in line with the Australian government code of conduct, was not adopted and, in December 2011, Mr Galilee left his ­position as the chief of staff to NSW Treasurer Mike Baird to become the chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council.

More recently, we read that the NSW Minerals Council has added yet another former ­government adviser to its ranks. The former chief of staff of former state resources minister Chris Hartcher, Andrew Humpherson, began consulting for the council just months after his former boss resigned from cabinet following a raid by officers from ICAC on his office in ­December last year.

Perhaps Mr Galilee should look more closely at his own council before attacking those who seek to protect the environment and to keep our government open and accountable.

Mr Galilee has also failed to do his homework. He claims when attempting to demonise farmers who have been block­ading gas miner Metgasco in the Northern Rivers of NSW that the protesters “blockaded a farmer and his family, including two young children, in their home”. Mr Galilee has simply made this “fact” up. The farmer and his family do not live on the blockaded property. They live 30km away in another valley. When the farmer has attended to his cows on the property blockaders have opened the gate for him.

Lock the Gate is made up of many different groups and individuals who share a common goal of protecting this nation’s land and water from invasive and inappropriate mining. The past few weeks have seen farmers, grandmothers and even a 92-year-old war veteran choose ­arrest to defend the nation’s land, water, health and ultimately its future from inappropriate coal and gas mining. It is people like this that Mr Galilee claims are “locusts”.

If, as he says, “illegal activity should not be tolerated” then he should turn his attention to the illegal activity of the miners he represents. In the words of Mr Galilee: “Existing laws must be enforced, and magistrates need to do more than issue token fines and stern words. Where laws are inadequate they need to be strengthened.” Indeed!

Phil Laird is a farmer from northwest NSW and the national co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance. This article is published in response to Stephen Galilee, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, whose article was published on Monday.

2 notes
12:15 PM . 17 April 2014

Santos issued


PROTESTERS have issued Santos a “please explain” after the discovery of radioactive material at its coal seam gas operation in the Pilliga.

A bright red box at one of the company’s drill sites contains the radioactive isotope Caesium-137, which can be deadly at high exposure levels.-

Cs-137 is commonly used in the mining and construction industries to detect liquid flows in pipes, tanks or bore holes dug for coal seam gas exploration.-

But its uncovering, coming just weeks after it emerged that in 2012 a leaking storage pond resulted in high levels of uranium, barium and other elements in an aquifer, has some worried.-

"The revelations that Santos will be using radioactive materials in the Narrabri Gas Project will only add to community concerns about the trouble-plagued coal seam gas mining project in north-west NSW," said the Wilderness Society’s Naomi Hogan.-

Those in the community following the development closely say they have never seen any reference to Cs-137 in the reams of planning documents relating to Santos’ proposed $2 billion project at Narrabri.-

The Leader contacted Santos last week requesting a copy of any approvals relating to the isotope, but was referred on to the Office of Coal Seam Gas.-

The Office of Coal Seam Gas was not forthcoming with any documentation, however, it did say a “Santos contractor has a radiation management licence under the Radiation Control Act 1990”.-

Further inquiries to the NSW Environment Protection Authority revealed that contractor to be Halliburton Australia Pty Ltd.-

In February, four drill workers at a coal seam gas operation in Queensland were reportedly exposed to potentially dangerous radiation levels after Cs-137 was left unsecured on the site by contractors.-

In a statement, a Santos spokesperson told The Leader that storage and handling of Cs-137 at its drill sites in the Pilliga were in compliance with the Radiation Safety Act and Radiation Safety Regulation.-

But local farmer Tony Pickard, whose own investigations exposed the cover-up by Eastern Star Gas of a large chemical spill in the Pilliga several years ago, said he did not believe there was adequate security around the box.-

"It might have every right to be out there at the site, but it shouldn’t be in plain view - it should have a better security system on it than it has," he said.-

The Santos spokesperson also said that as the “element is contained at all times”, it would not be found in waste water from the wells and was not responsible for the elevated levels of uranium found in the aquifer.-

"Uranium is naturally occurring in the soils surrounding our operations," the spokesperson said.-

Mr Pickard said the company owed it to the community to provide a better explanation of how and why Cs-137 is used at the site.

2 notes
12:08 PM . 17 April 2014


Article from FB

Global Information Against Coal Seam Gas CSG

Shareholder Comment: “I would like to see our Company drilling more regularly and get this Company into a Producer rather than an explorer!


"Lots of Shareholders are not happy with such slow progress of this Company since joint ventures with Santos and Total! And now Magellian. Lets hear some positive news ASAP”.

This represents the greed. Get it done! Do it now! With shareholders like this hot on their heels, little wonder frackers are keep to start work straight away. Let’s not bother with an Environmental Impact Statement - forget baseline studies, just whip up a quick Review of Environmental Factors this arvo, and if a chapter’s taking too long to write - well - if in doubt, leave it out!

Often, lack of preparation not only leads to environmental damage, it can cost the fracker big time. Central Petroleum in partnership with SANTOS struck a snag on Sunday.

The two companies have a joint venture drilling test bores in the Amadeus Basin along the Lasseter Highway fairly close to Uluru in the Northern Territory.

"Santos notified Central that an incident occurred on the drill rig late in the day on Sunday April 13 at approximately 5.20pm. No persons were injured and there has been no environmental impact as a result of the incident".

YET ANOTHER ACCIDENT FROM SANTOS! This time in the shadows of Ayers Rock. The problem is described as an “incident” but very scant details seem to be forthcoming. Perhaps the company’s real name should be Scantos? (or maybe Scamtos, or Scandalos)

See the full story at the Rigzone industry

4 notes
07:13 PM . 15 April 2014


Six Farmers Lock-On to Santos CSG Rig in Pilliga, NSW

This tells you why Farmers are doing what they are doing.  Do these guys look like city people dressed up as farmers I think not Santos, I think not.

2 notes
07:06 PM . 15 April 2014


PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE WATER  Mmmmm…… Not good. Imagine the Pilliga and all that produced water over flowing into the creeks and then into the Namoi and all around the town of Wee Waa. It comes from the scrub and big amounts of it to.

From the Facebook Page of the Western Downs Regional Council.  Which is a large area where Coal Seam Gas wells dominate the area.

While recent rain has been welcome, an unfortunate side effect has been the contamination of Myall Creek, Dalby, causing a fish kill and algae blooms. Investigations continue, but keep safe and keep out of the water. ~ Enviro Health Team