Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Friday, 21 July 2017

A plea on behalf of NSW Liverpool Plains communities

It's been a difficult week on the Liverpool Plains.
Yesterday the New South Wales Government paid coal company Shenhua $262 million dollars in a deal that removes part of their larger exploration licence but still lets the company go ahead with it's full coal mining project on the irreplaceable Liverpool Plains.

There is a lot of public relations spin from the NSW Government, but the cold hard truth is that they haven't stopped the Shenhua Watermark coal mine and the company now says it plans to proceed to start the project.

The consequences for local farmers adjoining the mine, and the productivity of this vital national foodbowl, will be severe.

Phone in 4 the plains button
The Government is trying to throw the coal dust over our eyes by telling us this is a great win for the Liverpool Plains.

But in fact, all they have done is pay an exorbitant price for some areas that Shenhua never had any intention of mining, whilst allowing the full 4,000 hectare mine with 3 massive open-cut coal pits to go ahead full bore on the Plains.

The NSW Government has the legal power to cancel the entire Shenhua exploration licence and put an end to this dangerous mine proposal once and for all.
Phone in 4 the plains button
This is an incredibly crucial moment. We need a crescendo of voices demanding full protection of this magnificent country and an end to the Shenhua mine project.

Thanks for your help,
George Woods
Lock the Gate Alliance
Lock the Gate Alliance · PO Box 6285, Sth Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
You can also keep up with Lock the Gate Alliance on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

PEOPLE POWER: gas pipeline resistance in the corn

HuffPost, 9 July 2017:

If the management team at Williams Partners was having flashbacks on Sunday, it was by design. The Oklahoma-based pipeline company has met stiff resistance to its proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline since it was first announced in 2014. On Sunday, hundreds of opponents of the project congregated in an outdoor chapel in Columbia, Pennsylvania on property owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, an order of Catholic nuns. Among those in attendance were representatives from another order, the Sisters of Loretto, from Kentucky who helped defeat Williams’ Bluegrass pipeline in 2014….

Lancaster Against Pipelines, a grassroots group dedicated to stopping the nearly 200-mile natural gas transmission pipeline, constructed the chapel on a grove just feet from where the pipeline would cut through a corn field. The field and nearly cloudless blue sky above provided the backdrop for the simple wooden altar facing a few rows of wooden benches.

Williams Partners tried to stop the dedication. Last Thursday, the company submitted a 45-page emergency motion to a federal district judge in an attempt to take immediate possession of the property and get permission to deploy U.S. Marshals on the nuns and “any third parties authorized by the sisters to be on the property.”

It was a particularly brazen attempt on Williams’ part to get ahead of the legal process. The company was already scheduled to take the nuns to court later this month when it filed its emergency motion. The regulatory process is not complete yet either. The project has not yet received the permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection necessary to proceed with the pipeline.

Mark Clatterbuck, one of the group’s board members who helped construct the chapel, told the crowd that he thinks the company is getting nervous. He believes it understands that the chapel “is not sort of symbolic resistance, that it’s real and we’re not going away.”

Lancaster Against Pipelines website:

“'If completed, it will go through more than 350 waterways, 220 wetlands and would permanently fragment over 44 interior forests,' said Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, a local Mennonite pastor and cofounder of Lancaster Against Pipelines. '… We believe the collective damage to the Susquehanna watershed (and therefore the Chesapeake Bay) is irreparable, and that the state needs to intervene for the future of clean water and clean waterways in Pennsylvania.'”

Lancaster Against Pipelines Facebook page:

* Images taken form Lancaster Against Pipelines posts

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

"Water Is Life" anti-fracking campaign hit Australia's highways on 8 July 2017

Some images from the Water Is Life anti-fracking event held along the nation's highways on Sauturday, 8 July 2017.

Well done, one and all!

*All images found on Twitter

Monday, 3 July 2017

Is the Liberal Party of Australia taking a leaf out of Steve Bannon's playbook

This was a ‘news’ banner on the Liberal Party of Australia’s The Fair Go website on 27 June 2016:
The short eight sentence long spiel behind the login wall began with:

Where does Getup get its money from and what is the real agenda behind the bluster?

From Open Society to Podesta to The Sunrise Project, Avaaz to GetUp in Australia! There’s certainly been a lot of US money a-flowing toward Aussie Leftists groups. So, who is giving who how much and where is it all going?

And ended with this image:

However it did not disclose any “secret money trails” and appeared to base its claims in part on 'fake news' produced during the 2016 US presidential election and the political donations disclosures GetUp! (Getup Limited est. 29 April 2005) regularly submits to the Australian Electoral Commission which can be found on the commission’s website as well as on a GetUp! web page.

According to the staff writers at The Fair Go the villain of the piece is George Soros – one of the people Donald Trump likes to hate – who is supposedly nefariously funding GetUp! through Avaaz.

Of course no mention is made of the fact that two co-founders and current board members of GetUp! were later also co-founders of Avaaz, so there is an existing and acknowledged relationship which has seen these two groups work together on climate change campaigns.

Instead this little gem made it off a staff writer’s keyboard and onto the website:

Getup alone spent $10m on pro-Union, pro-Green, anti-development, anti-jobs agenda last year. They have been getting some help from American organisation Avaaz with $275,000 in donations over the last two years.

But where does Avaaz get their funding from? Open Society Foundation of course! 

All roads lead back to George Soros.

Small problem with the maths though. The figure for the last two Third Party Return of Political Expenditure forms submitted by GetUp! show zero donations from Avaaz in 2015-16 and a single $99,985 donation in 2014-15. Even if one goes back to the 2013-14 form, that included donation would only bring the Avaaz donation total to $195,605 over the last three financial years declared to date.

It should come as no surprise to find that Avaaz also publishes its US expenditure declarations which means that there is even less to The Fair Go’s secrecy claims. Avaaz received a general support grant in 2008-09 from the Open Society Institute (OSI est. 1979) and since then does not appear to have accepted donations from “foundations or corporations”.

As for George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (formerly OSI) – well that registered philanthropic organisation operating world-wide produces annual budgets which show what programs it is involved with and where. Australia is not one of the countries in which it has a presence and, apart from attending at least one international conference which happen to be held in this country and including Australia in its “Case Watch” series and the occasional report, it does not appear to be active here.

The 2016 Open Society Foundations budget showed expected expenditure of US$544.6 million and the 2017 budget expenditure is expected to come in at US$940.7 million. This money goes to small and medium sized organisations such as those providing advocacy, legal aid, assistance to refugees, early childhood development and education and food security in the face of climate change programs, as well as to grass roots activism.

Who would you believe when it comes to “secret money trails”? A political party (with its own political donation probity issues) which couldn’t even come up with an original design for a website which appears to be using the Steve Bannon approach to facts and is aping one of Donald Trump’s pet conspiracy theories, or the publicly available political donation disclosures GetUp! has been submitting since 2006-07.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Well done, Iluka Green Army & Landcare volunteers

And well done Clarence Valley Independent for reporting this local content on 7 June 2017:

The team replanting trees in Everlasting Swamp, at Lawrence. Image: Contributed.
New homes for birds and fish are being created as the Iluka GreenArmy and Landcare help the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) replant tree cover in Everlasting Swamp National Park at Lawrence.
NPWS Project Officer Dean Egan said restoring tree cover will create habitat for birds, provide shade and structure for fish and assist in improving water quality in the park.
“More than 140 trees were planted in recent weeks, adding to the over 1200 trees planted in since start of 2016,” Mr Egan said.
“A big thanks to the dedicated team of ten GreenArmy crew and five Iluka Landcare volunteers.
“The Sandon to Wooli Community Nursery and Iluka Landcare have worked with NPWS to source local seed, raise young trees and the Envite-led Iluka GreenArmy has been planting the trees.”
Envite GreenArmy Coordinator Mick Webb said it is great to see this improved wetland health achieved through this community partnership of both young and old.
“The incredible birdlife, fish and rare wetland vegetation needed a bit of a hand up. Parts of the new park were devoid of creek-bank trees, with older trees being hit hard by dieback and lack of habitat,” Mr Webb said.


The Everlasting Swamp from the air


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

People Power in The Pilliga

HuffPost, 8 June 2017:
It's easily the largest dryland forest in NSW (and indeed eastern Australia). The area is a treasure. In addition to its inherent natural beauty, it has a rare far-inland koala population, as well as almost unbelievably pure groundwater…..

The Department of Planning & Environment told HuffPost Australia that Santos will now be asked to provide a detailed response to the issues raised in submissions, and that the Department will seek advice from a range of independent scientific experts.
"There is no fixed time frame for the assessment of the project, but a final decision is not likely until next year," a Department spokesman told us.
You get the impression that Kennedy and many people like her will continue to agitate while they await the decision.
"I would say that this unprecedented enormous number of submissions objecting to this would clearly say to our government that they are wrong, and that they failed to listen to the people," Kennedy said.
"Not failed, but deliberately ignored our constant visits, our endless supply of information and science we provided to them over many years, proving that this industry would destroy our land and water.
"They constantly said that there were just a few selfish ratbag farmers, who wanted to protect their land and water from being destroyed by this industry, and who wanted to be able to continue to supply clean food and water to future generations of Australians.
"They said we were a tiny minority, that most people supported this gas project. The 23,000 submissions prove that its not just a handful of selfish farmers. It is the public. It is all the people who live here and want to continue to eat clean food, drink clean water, and have healthy lives."…..
In addition to threatening the water supply of farmers like Anne Kennedy, contaminated water would have terrible implications for the fauna of the Pilliga, like this adorable little threatened eastern pygmy possum.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Coal Seam Gas Exploration and Mining potentially allowable in the NSW Northern Rivers region once more

“The Minister must not grant a petroleum title over any of the following land (the excluded areas):
(a)  an area designated by the Minister, by notification published in the Gazette, as an area in respect of which a petroleum title is not to be granted,”  [Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 No 84, current version for 6 January 2017 to date] 

In 2015 the NSW Baird Coalition Government announced that its NSW Gas Plan included:
Action 4 of the NSW Gas Plan [2.84 MB] is to establish a one-off buy-back of petroleum exploration licences (PELs) for titleholders across the state. This provides an opportunity for holders of PELs to surrender their titles. The NSW Government commenced the buy-back program on 11 December 2014. 
To date, the NSW Government has bought back the following PELs:

PEL 2 (AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd) view map  [5549 KB] & view map  [1762 KB]
PEL 4 (AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd) view map  [2854 KB]
PEL 5 (AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd) view map  [352 KB]
PEL 267 (AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd) view map  [4434 KB]
PEL 437 (Pangaea PEL 437 Pty Ltd) view map  [426 KB]
PEL 442 (Apex Energy NL & Sydney Basin CBM Pty Ltd) view map  [418 KB]
PEL 444 (Apex Energy NL & Sydney Basin CBM Pty Ltd) view map  [392 KB]
PEL 445 (Dart Energy (Bruxner) Pty Ltd) view map  [2.64MB]
PEL 454 (Apex Energy NL & Sydney Basin CBM Pty Ltd) view map  [381 KB]
PEL 457 (ERM Gas Pty Ltd) view map  [1 MB]
PEL 459 (Dart Energy (Apollo) Pty Ltd) view map  [432 KB]
PEL 460 (Dart Energy (Apollo) Pty Ltd) view map  [280 KB]
PEL 463 (Dart Energy (Apollo) Pty Ltd) view map  [362 KB]
PEL 464 (Dart Energy (Apollo) Pty Ltd) view map  [403 KB]
PEL 476 (Pangaea Oil & Gas Pty Ltd) view map  [450 KB]
PEL 478 (Clarence Moreton Resources Pty Ltd ERM Gas Pty Ltd) view map  [425 KB]
PEL 479 (Clarence Moreton Resources Pty Ltd ERM Gas Pty Ltd) view map  [694 KB]

In November 2015 the Baird Government added Metgasco Limited’s PEL 13, PEL 16 and PEL 426 to this buyback list.

The NSW Nationals Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis called on communities to “trust the NSW Gas Plan” to make the Northern Rivers gas field free.

Although buybacks occurred, to date the NSW Northern Rivers region does not appear to have been gazetted as an area in respect of which a petroleum title is not to be granted.

In June 2017 the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government released its NSW STRATEGIC RELEASE FRAMEWORK FOR COAL AND PETROLEUM and surprise, surprise, the Northern Rivers region is once again potentially available for exploitation by unconventional gas mining corporations by way of an exploration licence auction process – highest bidder above the government reserve declared the ‘lucky winner’.

The strategic release framework also states; The expunged petroleum title applications provisions under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, if triggered, still necessitate compliance this two part auction process…….An exception to this process is prescribed under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, Schedule 2, Expunged petroleum title applications. Expunged petroleum title applicants are required to be given first opportunity to make new applications, where the proposed new release area was the subject of an expunged application. To trigger this provision, the expunged title applicant must be the same entity. The two part auction process still applies. An expunged title applicant must satisfy the minimum standards, work program and reserve price requirements. There is no automatic granting of a prospecting title. An expunged title applicant may choose not to apply

In other words Gladys Berejiklian & Co are merrily inviting the same environmental vandals to return to the very land from which concerned local communities fought so hard to remove them.

This was Lock The Gate Alliance on the subject on 6 June 2017:

Lock the Gate Alliance says the NSW Government’s ‘Strategic release framework’ for coal and gas exploration, announced today, leaves the state’s groundwater and farmland unprotected.

Under the framework, parts of the state will be made available for coal and gas exploration and it has been announced that the new framework will immediately be applied to two areas in the state’s far west where explorers have sought access to unconventional gas. 

The new framework also allows holders of “expunged petroleum titles” to reapply for areas where licences have been bought back or cancelled, including in the Northern Rivers and Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

"There’s nothing in this framework that will prevent the Minister and the Cabinet opening up the Northern Rivers or Sydney’s drinking water catchment to new gas exploration” said Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods.

"The public is still waiting for long-overdue promises to protect farmland, water and communities from coal and unconventional gas mining to be delivered.

"Without those protections in place, this Strategic Release Framework is a major threat to our land and water resources.

"With a state election coming up in a year and a half, this failure is likely to lead to an electoral backlash from affected communities if it is not quickly addressed," she said.

The Framework is partly a response to ICAC made nearly four years ago and warning that the process for releasing coal exploration licences was "conducive to corruption” but Lock the Gate says there are important elements of these recommendations unfulfilled.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

New Hope Group's open cut coal mine expansion sunk by Qld Land Court: a victory for the people of Acland, Oakey and the Darling Downs

The Guardian, 31 May 2017:

A court has recommended the Queensland government reject a controversial coalmine in what farmers and lawyers hailed as a historic victory in one of Australia’s largest environmental public interest cases.

The saga of the $900m New Acland mine proposal, which included a public slanging match between the broadcaster Alan Jones and Campbell Newman that led to a defamation suit by the former premier, drew to an extraordinary conclusion with a ruling by a land court member, Paul Smith, on Wednesday.

In what is believed to be the court’s first outright ruling against a major mine in its modern history, Smith recommended that the government refuse environmental and mining licences to its proponent, New Hope Coal.

It was a David and Goliath victory for landholders who put forward evidence of the miner’s faulty modelling of jobs and groundwater impacts, serious noise and dust impacts, and a history of local complaints.

Newman’s Liberal National party government was mired in controversy over its belated approval of the mine expansion, on Queensland’s Darling Downs, after New Hope’s parent company donations of about $900,000 to the federal Liberal party.

The LNP government had backflipped after vetoing the Acland proposal in 2012, with Newman saying it was “inappropriate” to expand the mine in the state’s southern food bowl.

Paul King, of Oakey Coal Action Alliance, a group of more than 60 farmers and objectors to the mine, said: “We suggested during the court proceedings that that donation was an attempt to influence the decision-making process.”

Guardian Australia also revealed that a Newman government minister involved in the government’s handling of the project had taken a $2,000 donation from a New Hope director and his daughter took a job at the company.

King said: “This decision, which clearly demonstrates no good reason for the mine to go ahead, is a vindication of a clean system.

“This shows that our system is robust.”

Jo-Anne Bragg, the chief executive of the environmental defenders office, which acted for the objectors, said it was “unprecedented in decades” for a Queensland court to recommend a flat rejection of a major mine.

“I think it is a watershed because it is so rare a group of landholders and locals can win against a big, well-resourced mining company,” she said.

The ruling comes four months after the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, approved the mine with “28 strict conditions”.

Bragg said the EDO expected the state resources minister, Anthony Lynham, and the environment department to follow the court’s recommendation after a “very thorough” 96-day trial and 459-page decision.

The case saw New Hope cut its original job projections from an average of 2,953 a year to 680 net jobs nationally, when other industries displaced by the mine were taken into account.
The court also heard the company would claw back an estimated $500m in royalties from a legal loophole that would see taxpayers receive a cut of just 7%.

Landholders mustered evidence that unreliable groundwater modelling by the miner put farmers’ groundwater at risk. They also argued that more than 100 local complaints to New Hope and 30 to state environmental officials about coal dust and noise levels had effectively fallen on deaf ears for a decade.

This was the basis of evidence of a high risk of the new mine exceeding air-quality limits.

It was a long hard fight spread over 96 days commencing in March 2016 before this judgment was delivered on 31 May 2017, New Acland Coal Pty Ltd v Ashman & Ors and Chief Executive, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (No. 4) [2017] QLC 24:


1. I recommend to the Honourable the Minister responsible for the MRA that MLA 50232 be rejected.

2. In light of Order 1, I recommend to the Honourable the Minister responsible for the MRA that MLA 700002 be rejected.

3. I recommend to the administering authority responsible for the EPA that Draft EA Number EPML 00335713 be refused.

4. I direct the Registrar of the Land Court provide a copy of these reasons and access to the Land Court e- trial site to the Honourable the Minister administering the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and to the administering authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

5. I will hear from the parties as to costs.

The American Resistance has many faces and these are just two of them (7)

Taking resistance to President Trump's doorstep.......

CBS Los Angeles, 13 May 2017:

RANCHO PALOS VERDES ( – A group of approximately 200 people spelled out the word “Resist!” Saturday morning on the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The group, which identified itself as Indivisible San Pedro, held the flash mob style protest between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies responded, but there were no reported arrests, according to organizers of the demonstration.
Peter Warren, a member of Indivisible San Pedro, told CBS2 that group held the protest as a call for a special prosecutor to investigate whether there was Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election.

via @voterdye from DC, 16 May 2017

Trump International Hotel, Washington DC, owned by the Trump Organizatuion since 2014. Subjected to an unexpected light show on 15 May 2017.

Photo found at Business Insider, 16 March 2017

Friday, 26 May 2017

NSW nurses & midwives stand with Pilliga-Narrabri communities against Santos coal seam gas project

“Santos expects to build 850 production wells over the next two decades” within the mining lease. ABC NEWS, 10 April 2017, PHOTO: An aerial shot of the Santos CSG exploration project in the Pilliga. (Audience supplied: Dean Sewell)

Echo NetDaily, 19 May 2017:

Local nurses are voicing their concerns about the threat to health in a submission to the government objecting not only to the Santos Narrabri Coal Seam Gas Project, but to all CSG mining across NSW.

It was following a successful motion put forward by the Lismore Base Hospital branch of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association that the a submission was lodged.

‘As nurses and midwives we believe that an ecologically sustainable environment promotes health and wellbeing. We are greatly concerned about the health of communities impacted by CSG’, said Heather Ryan Dunn, midwife and Vice President of the Lismore Base branch of the NSWNMA. ‘We also know that climate change is the biggest threat we are currently facing and that decisions made today will impact greatly on future generations.’

The 20 page submission which includes references to CSG well accidents and risks to human health via contaminated water and air pollution, is one of approximately 12,000 already submitted in response to the EIS, a record breaking and resounding ‘no’ from objectors to the project.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Australia 2017: No, means no in the bush when it comes to the gas industry

Go to to view Santos Ltd/Santos NSW (Eastern) Pty Ltd’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for it Narrabri Gas Project – a proposed 850 well gasfield across the Pilliga.

Go to North West Alliance at for assistance with a submission.

“Santos Narrabri Gas Project is merely a Trojan Horse to get hold of the whole of NSW”, Protect the West, 6 April 2017

Submission deadline is 22 May 2017.