We have just been for a holiday to Queensland in which we travelled through the Darling Downs: a major flash point for coal seam gas. Farmers in some areas became aware of the terrible consequences in time and have ‘Locked the Gate’, but for others, it is too late. The Queensland Government is now changing the ‘wild rivers laws’ to allow fracking in the Channel Country which is directly above the Great Artesian Basin!
In NSW there is fracking in the Pilliga Nature Park, which is also above the Great Artesian Basin. There is a desperate rush by the CSG companies because they have to fulfil their $100 billion contract with China and they are also exempt from paying royalties for five years. The main message for our local farmers, from the locals we spoke to, was “do not sign anything to do with coal seam gas unless you have a solicitor present”. The second message was to learn all you can about the bad consequences if you have CSG on your property.
Farmers, do you know that in New Zealand, milk is not being picked up from any new farms in the Taranaki area. This is because farmers were spreading mud, containing petroleum, from nearby gas wells, onto their farms. There has been no contamination to the milk yet, but the cost of the testing forced the decision. Imagine the testing that would have to be done if you had a well on your farm, or next door, with the hundreds of chemicals used for CSG extraction! Loss of contract? Loss of exports? There is all sorts of info like this out there you should know – websites, video discs, letters from the EPA etc. Keep informed.
Maureen Versteden, Drouin.