May I comment on your article about the appointment of former parliamentarian Alexander Downer to the Board of Lakes Oil? (B A 4/2) Mr. Downer is an appointment of Gina Rinehart – Australia’s richest person and the world’s richest woman. Ms Rinehart denies the science of climate change. Her other appointment to the Lakes Oil board is geologist Ian Plimer the principal Australian climate change denier.
Lakes Oil is a company exploring for coal seam gas, unconventional gas and shale oil in Gippsland. Recently Steven Sherwood of the University of NSW stated “if we fully develop all the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely uninhabitable planet.” (New Scientist 17.11.12)
We are in a ‘David and Goliath” struggle of epic proportions. The latter represented by a hugely wealthy mining industry with enough power to change prime ministers and with most of the mass media and the major political parties doing their bidding. The former represented by ordinary, mostly unaware, citizens – humanity itself.
Australia has a huge undeveloped resource of solar energy but persists with spoiling productive farmland and adding harmful greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The proposals of Lakes Oil and other fossil fuel developers in Gippsland and elsewhere are insane.
Longford Residents Against Gas
Longford residents last night voted unanimously against Onshore Gas in Longford. Two issues were discussed. One, the introduction of CSG in Longford and two, the Longford Conditioning plant approval process.
“So many people are concerned about what’s happening to our environment and communities are starting to stand up for their rights and protect their properties and their health.” Mr. Knoesen of the CSG Wellington Awareness Group said. “When you threaten to dig up peoples properties, surround them by gas wells, introduce heavy vehicle traffic, affect their health and well being and devalue their investments – they’re going to fight” said Longford resident Hayley Kennedy.
“With more and more people putting the yellow triangle ‘Lock the Gate’ signs up on their front gates, it is a clear indication that people are starting to understand the threat that mining poses to our region. Giving our properties and natural resources to overseas companies, Gina Rinehart and overseas companies is not on! It doesn’t matter who you work for- it’s wrong” said Dr. Jo McCubbin.
Several Exploration Licences for Onshore Gas Mining have been allocated by the Department of Primary Industries covering most of Gippsland. With investment by mining Giants like Gina Rinehart, and ExxonMobil(Esso) it indicates that there is potential for mass expansion of the industry in Victoria. We live over 65 Billion Tons of Coal between Morwell and Longford which contains vast quantities of gas- the Chinese want it, ExxonMobil want it and Gina Rinehart wants it. Gippsland produces 23% of Australia’s milk and is the food bowl for Victoria. This type of mining is proven in QLD, NSW and the U.S.A. to be incompatible with farming. Gippslanders will lose out. If Gippslanders don’t want to give away our agriculture industry, natural resources and real estate then they must say so.
Esso’s new conditioning plant is expected to vent 1 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year and consume 72 million litres of aquifer water. Esso’s average water consumption is 973 million liters per year. “Gippslanders are in drought just after the floods, ask any farmer, and Esso is using 2.6 million litres per day?” commented Mr. Knoesen. To Longford residents, the expansion of the Longford Gas plant means that they will continue to live next door to an industrial facility and expect to have their environment polluted for many more years to come.
Gippslanders have an opportunity to object to the expansion of the gas plant by entering submissions to the EPA Works Approval Process of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guidelines for submissions may be found at www.communityovermining.org and a printed copy may be viewed at the Wellington Shire Council reception desk.
Longford residents who are concerned about the introduction of CSG in their neighbourhood and the expansion of the Esso processing plant are to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to show their support to the community.
CSG WAG Sale, Victoria
I am pleased to see the Nationals coming out with a policy to have a “Green Army” of 15,000 across Australia even if it is only a token gesture.(EGN 16/1) Such an “army” should be at least ten times this size and soak up unemployment around Australia.
As to activities for the “Green Army” I can suggest starting on Bob Hawke’s “one billion trees” as the only effective method of carbon capture and storage or making safe towns and communications routes from the increasing threats of extreme weather events or installing permanent members of emergency services such as the CFA in remote local communities. The list of possibilities is a long one.
The problem with the Nationals is that they are yet to recognise the dire threat of global warming. This is complicated by the fact that coal miners are a major donor to the National Party – more than $75,000 in 2010-11. Without tackling the problem of CO2 from coal exports and electricity generation the Nationals are condemned to remain the “flat-earth” party of our political system.
Eventually Mr Chester and the Nationals will have to decide whether they represent coal miners such as Nathan Tinkler or ordinary farmers and the people of Gippsland