CSG campaigners stop CSG operations for the 5th day in Australia

” After energy giant Santos was fined for contaminating an aquifer with high levels of uranium,  protesters campaigning against their coal seam gas (CSG) project in northwestern NSW Australia say they have halted the operations for a fifth day in a row…..Third-generation farmer Brett Sanders, from nearby Tambar Springs, said he’d be ‘stuffed’ if the aquifers were contaminated by coal seam gas extraction.’

We are stopping Santos say Pilliga campaigners

Coonamble farmer Ted Borowski chained himself to the underneath of a truck carrying mining equipment as part of a blockage of coal team gas trucks in the Pilliga Forest, in northern NSW. (AAP Image/Ursula Da Silva)

Sydney [AAP]

Protesters campaigning against a coal seam gas (CSG) project in northwestern NSW say they’ve halted the operations of energy giant Santos for a fifth straight day.

Santos is currently undertaking preparatory work in the Pilliga forest, but demonstrators say coal seam gas projects will pollute the landscape and threaten the livelihoods of local farmers.

Laura Hartley, who attached herself to a rig truck within a drill site, says the community has united against the project.

‘We are not going to let Santos trash our landscape with industrial gas fields,’ Dr Hartley said.

‘We have resolved to do what it takes to ensure our region is protected.’

Third-generation farmer Brett Sanders, from nearby Tambar Springs, said he’d be ‘stuffed’ if the aquifers were contaminated by coal seam gas extraction.

‘The water of my farm (has) been in the family for 54 years. We’re totally dependent on a spring-fed creek and bore water,’ he said.

Both have since been arrested, Lock the Gate Alliance spokeswoman Georgina Woods told AAP.

She said protesters successfully stalled operations over the weekend, including a grandmother attaching herself to a truck as it entered the site.

Six local farmers entered a drilling site and blockaded it for seven hours, she said, adding such tactics were just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

‘More and more people have realised that the government is not going to look after the groundwater, and that they’ll have to do it themselves,’ she said.

A Santos spokesman said the protesters’ efforts hadn’t taken a toll on operations.

‘Certainly over the last five days there have been a couple of occasions of people attaching themselves to vehicles, but nothing considerable,’ he said.

Elderly couple lock on
Meanwhile, in ongoing protest actions at the controversial Maules Creek coal mine development near Gunnedah, a 72-year-old retired civil engineer and his wife have together halted construction work there yesterday morning.

The couple, David and Pamela Rothfield, have been married for 21 years, and have locked their arms together onto a drill rig, disabling it until they are removed.

They have joined the growing blockade at the Leard forest because of the contribution coal exports from Australia make to global climate change.

Pamela Rothfield said ‘exporting coal from Australia is criminal in light of the overwhelming evidence of climate change, and it must be stopped.

‘My husband and I are taking this action together this morning because our governments have failed tackle our biggest contribution to climate change,’ Mrs Rothfield said.

The proposed Maules Creek mine has been approved to extract up to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, which is estimated would contribute more than 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution per year.

In recent research published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is estimated that the continued destruction of forests and the burning of fossil fuels will drive a four-degrees Celsius temperature rise by 2100, dramatically altering weather systems around the world, including here in Australia.

David Rothfield said ‘I feel a moral imperative to oppose this disgraceful development.

‘Coal is driving climate change. I can’t watch climate change unfold, and do nothing, as the Australian government seems prepared to.’

Leard Forest Alliance spokesperson Danielle Hellyer said ‘along with the irreversible impacts that this mine will have on the warming of the planet, the Leard State Forest which is due for further clearing, contains the nationally listed and critically endangered Box-Gum Woodland.

‘This type of ecosystem cannot simply be replaced, nor can the contributions this mine will have on global greenhouse gas emissions be reversed,’ Ms Hellyer said.

Posted on: April 10, 2014