Thursday, 3 April 2014
Metgasco Limited and News Corp journalist Miranda Devine distorting the truth about opposition tho the gas industry establishing itself in the Northern Rivers
Coal seam gas exploration and mining company Metgasco Limited had gone into overdrive in an attempt to negatively spin the blockade of its current drilling site at 1480 Bentley Road, Bentley.
News Corp journalist Miranda Devine took the bait and wrote about the virtual siege under which the family are allegedly living and the ‘hellish ’level of harassment being experienced.
However, the facts of the matter don’t really support the Metgasco-Devine dire version of events.
Neither Robert Graham nor Peter Graham and his wife and children live on the land in question – they live at Goolmangar - and apparently the level of personal harassment being experienced in practice is that Peter is being “barked at” as the protesters move their cars and open the gate so he can enter his land.
Excerpt from Miranda Devine’s article Fossil fuel fanatics make farm life hell posted on Metgasco Limited’s company website, 2 April 2014:
In the lush pastures of the northern rivers region, an unholy alliance of local anti-gas protesters and imported green extremists is making life hell for farmer Pete Graham and his family.
They have farmed near Casino for five generations, but their decision to allow gas company Metgasco to drill on their land for natural gas — not coal seam gas — has turned into a nightmare.
Hundreds of protesters have been camped around their property for weeks, blocking their driveways with cars and intimidating everyone going in and out. Peter’s wife, seven-year-old twins and parents are under virtual siege. His gates have been repeatedly padlocked and welded shut and a concrete trench with metal spikes dug into his driveway. If he takes cattle to market, he has to ask council for a security escort to get out his gate.
And in nearby Casino, business owners were harassed by anonymous letters last week, threatening a boycott of the town.
“It’s out of control,” Graham, 44, said yesterday of the campaign of intimidation.
“They’ve been told by police not to enter our property and they continually disobey the requests.”
This is the dark side of the campaign against coal seam gas. While apprehension about the impacts on prime agricultural land of gas exploration is real, extreme green fanatics have exploited those fears for their own ends.
Posing as farmer’s friends, professional vigilante activists are dangerous bedfellows for the grassroots anti-gas movement. Their criminal harassment of farmers and contractors and total opposition to all fossil fuels will, in the end, turn off the public and divide communities……
Echo NetDaily 1 April 2014:
Peter Graham has a pretty cattle stud in the valley, with a backdrop of Muckleewee Mountain Nature Reserve.
He has signed his land over to Metgasco for tight sands gas exploration and, perhaps, exploitation. Whether they are ‘successful’ or not, Mr Graham won’t have to deal with the consequences – he doesn’t live on the property.
His neighbours are not so well disposed to the idea of their green valley being turned into an industrialised gasfield: 84.5 per cent have registered their opposition to it.
The Northern Star 2 April 2014:
ROSELLA well landowner Peter Graham said protesters had now blockaded all the entrances on his cattle property and he could not enter any of the gates without harassment.
The official policy of protesters as publicised by Gasfields Free Northern Rivers is to not interfere with any farming activities on the land, but Mr Graham said the message wasn't filtering down to everyone.
Mr Graham said a few weeks ago most people would move their cars away and be "nice about it", while others would take several minutes to do so and were rude.
But recently, the tone of protesters had changed for the worse, he said.
"You drive through there and you get barked at," Mr Graham said. "We were told as we were going in - 'we know where you live - be warned'."
But one protester said that the Grahams had always been let in and they were even given photos of Robbie and Peter Graham to identify them with.
Mr Graham, who does not live at the property, said he would only visit when absolutely necessary.
NOTE: All read bolding is mine