Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas Mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas Mining. Show all posts

Friday, 2 August 2019

The NSW Northern Rivers Gasfield Free status is something the Australian Prime Minister wants to abolish

At 2:19 mins into this interview Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison signals his intention to pressure the states to lift their coal seam gas moratoriums and those existing outright bans on further exploration or gas extraction.

New South Wales and Victoria are firmly in his sights.

This means the Gasfield Free Northern Rivers is on Morrison's hit list.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Five to face Brisbane court over serious breaches of environmental law

It is thought that up to 320 square kilometres of agricultural land around Chinchilla may be at risk from contamination by chemicals and gases, due to alleged mismanagement of underground burning by Linc Energy Limited.

In November  2016 former Linc Energy chief executive Peter Bond along with four former staff members – Donald Schofield (managing director), Stephen Dumble (chief operations officer), Jacobus Terblanche (chief operations manager) and Darryl Rattai (former general manager) – were summonsed for breaching environmental law.

However their matters were adjoined until after The Queen v. Linc Energy Ltd was concluded and are all five are now due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this month.


ABC News, 11 May 2018:

A gas company has been fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Linc Energy was found guilty by a District Court jury in Brisbane last month after a 10-week trial.

The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Hopeland near Chinchilla.

Linc Energy mismanaged the underground burning of coal seams, which caused rock to fracture and allowed the escape of toxic gases which contaminated the air, soil and water on site.

The court heard the highest fine imposed upon a company so far in Queensland for similar offending was $500,000.

Linc Energy did not defend itself during the trial because it is now in liquidation.
Five executive directors have been charged with failing to ensure compliance of the company and are due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in July.

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court the company knew it was causing damage but pressed ahead with operations, and described its offending as "serious".

"The defendant acted in devious and cavalier way … its motivation was commercial gain," he said.

"It pursued commercial interests over environmental safeguards."

The court heard there would be monitoring and remediation of the site for decades to come, and it will take potentially between 10 to 20 years for groundwater to recover.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2018:

“It was an undefended case, the liquidators chose not to defend it, so, of course, there is going to be a guilty verdict,’’ he [Peter Bond] told The Australian of Monday's court ruling.

“It means nothing; there was no one in court to call bullshit and there was a lot of bullshit to that case."

Excerpt from THE QUEEN v. LINC ENERGY LTD (IN LIQUIDATION), 11 May 2018, Sentence:

HIS HONOUR: On the 9th of April 2018, Linc Energy Limited in liquidation was found guilty by a jury of five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm. That followed a 10-week trial, and the offence is contained in the Environmental Protection Act. There was no appearance by the defendant in in  liquidation pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court under the Corporations Law. The liquidators did not have to appear. That caused particular difficulties during the trial and also has an impact on sentence proceedings as I have not been assisted by any submissions on behalf of the defendant in relation to penalty.

As the defendant is a corporation, the only penalties that are open are financial: either a fine or compensation. The provision in relation to the imposition of fines is covered by sections 45 to 48 of the Penalties and Sentences Act. The first aspect of that is that, pursuant to section 48(1)(a) and (b) and subsection (2) of that Penalties and Sentences Act, the Court must take into account:

 …so far as is practicable, the financial circumstances of the offender and the nature of the burden the imposition of the fine would have on the offender.

Section 48, subsection (2) provides the Court may fine if it is unable to find out the  matters referred to in subsection (1). There is no information before me as to the circumstances of the liquidation of the corporation. I am unaware of any of its assets or liabilities, or whether it will have the capacity to pay fines. As to the utility of imposing a financial penalty on a corporation in liquidation, there are no restrictions in law as to that. Indeed, the cases referred to me demonstrate it is appropriate, 25 whether as a need for denunciation or general deterrence of specific criminal conduct…..

In relation to counts 1 to 3, a combination of section 437 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and 45 section 181B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 provides a maximum penalty of five times the 4165 penalty units, that is, a total of 1,561,875 thousand dollars for each of the offences covered in counts 1 to 3……

In my view, the defendant put its commercial interests well above its duty to conduct its processes in a way that safeguarded the environment. This is shown by its continued efforts to be seen as a successful Gas to Liquid producer on a commercial scale, where it operated gasifiers clearly above hydrostatic pressure to produce suitable gas for the GTL process, well knowing that contaminants were escaping widely and that damage to the land structure was occurring. As I have noted during the course of argument, there are varying degrees of wilfulness, which is an element of each offence.

The Prosecution have submitted that the appropriate way to approach the quantum is 45 by assessing the maximum and then reaching an appropriate proportion to address each offence. In terms of the section I earlier quoted in relation to the quantum of  fines, it seems to me the damage occasioned by each of these offences is significant and needs to be taken into account in the calculation of a quantum. In relation to each of counts 1 to 3, I accept the Prosecution’s submission that it is appropriate to impose 50 per cent of the maximum in relation to those.

In relation to each of counts 4 and 5, as I have noted, there are aggravating features. The defendant was well aware of the problems with the site and proceeded in disregard of its own experts. They had clearly advised the site was unsuitable because of the earlier gasifier operations; however, the defendant persisted simply 10 on a commercial basis.

In relation to the final count, the defendant purposely hid the issue of groundwater contamination from the regulator. I accept the Prosecution’s submission that fines in relation to each of those later offences should be at 75 per cent of the maximum.
I intend to reduce each of those fines to recognise the totality issues that I have spoken about, including the interplay between each offence and the damage that has actually been occasioned. On each of counts 1, 2 and 3, I fine the defendant the sum of $700,000. On each of counts 4 and 5, I fine the defendant the sum of $1,200,000. Convictions are recorded. The Prosecution does not seek its costs in relation to this Prosecution.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Gas industry finally admits that its lobbying spin contains untruths?

Tucked into the wall-to-wall spin of this media release is a tacit admission that safe aquifer recharge with treated water is little more than a convenient deception offered up to governments and citizens in the gas industry's drive to create more gasfields and extract more water from the natural environment in the mining process.
Research into the effects of the Coal Seam Gas industry on groundwater is continuously improving our understanding about underground water movements and implications for coal seam development.
Scientists from Queensland's independent Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) and the University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas have been wading through an enormous amount of data being contributed by landholders, government, industry and other research projects to build up a better understanding of groundwater movements.
Early studies suggest that the recharge of underground aquifers may not be as effective as once thought and recharge flow paths may not be what we first thought.
Research indicates that much of the rain recharging the Hutton and Precipice Sandstone aquifers in the North-East Surat Basin is discharging into the local low topography of the Dawson River.
That means the water is flowing in a north easterly direction, rather than to the south west into the regional Great Artesian Basin as was thought prior to 2009.
These findings were applied by OGIA in the development of regional groundwater flow models in 2012 and 2016 but many landholders remain unaware of the new findings.
It's also thought there could be small faults that create a localised connection between the Precipice and Hutton Aquifers in the vicinity of what is known as the Moonie-Goondiwindi fault system.
Researchers stress that this is still a work in progress and it is currently being reviewed by UQ and CSIRO researchers working independently on multiple data sets to either confirm or refute the hypothesis.
Lead researcher at the UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas, Prof Jim Underschultz says, "Our understanding of the Great Artesian Basin is increasing as researchers analyse the growing amount of data collected from the basin.
"The use of groundwater monitoring data, water production figures, detailed geographic distributions of water levels and hydrocarbon migration 'fingerprints' are giving us a level of detail never seen before".
The UQ researchers are collaborating closely with CSIRO, OGIA and the CSG Compliance Unit to ensure that research findings are made publicly available as quickly as possible.
Jim's research publications can be found at:
[my yellow highlighting]

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Knitting Nannas show their teeth?

Given the rumours about Australian Deputy-Prime Minister and Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce's not-so-private life, this tweet probably raised a few quiet chuckles in homes across northern New South Wales.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

NSW Berejiklian Government needs to face water sustainability issues on the Liverpool Plains

Santos Ltd plans to drill up to 850 coal seam gas production wells on 425 well pads in its Narrabri Gas Project located on approx. 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga State Forest and on private agricultural land south-west of Narrabri, NSW.

Project infrastructure will include a central gas processing facility for the compression, dehydration and treatment of the gas to commercial quality, along with infrastructure supporting treatment, beneficial reuse, power generation, water and gas distribution and operational management facilities.

Upon request the Independent Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development has given advice to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy and New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment concerning this project.

Here are some of the issues it raises in its 8 August 2017 advice:

Key potential impacts
The key potential impacts of the project include:
* long-term release of salt to the environment and the ongoing management of brine and salt waste. There is uncertainty in the quantities of salt that will be produced. There is also limited information in relation to the location and process for storage, and the containment and monitoring measures at the point of disposal.
* declines in groundwater level in landholder bores as a result of depressurisation and drawdown in the medium- to long-term (greater than 10 years).
* reductions in water availability to springs and other GDEs as a result of groundwater depressurisation and drawdown. These reductions may also impact surface water and groundwater connectivity, particularly along Bohena Creek.
* changes in surface water flow as a result of proposed discharges into Bohena Creek and uncertainties in the management of water during project operations in the short term (less than 10 years).
* changes to surface water and groundwater quality as a result of inappropriately stored or unintentional release of chemicals or untreated co-produced water.
The NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government needs to face the issues squarely, instead of pretending there is little to no risk to springs, aquifers and other ground and surface water under this mining application.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Ladies Who Bake (and organize, lobby, raise funds & volunteer) come out against coal seam gas exploration, mining and production

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of New South Wales came together for its annual conference on 22-25th May 2017 for the 95th time and debated policy.

Photograph: The Land, 25 May 2017

At this conference the CWA passed the following motion:

Maules Creek Branch (Namoi Group):

Preamble: The results of hosting unconventional gas on farms are properties devalued, mortgages refused, insurance covers rejected, destroys families, divides communities, drains aquifers and turns land into dead zones, sick children, suicide and mental breakdowns.

“That the policy of CWA of NSW shall be to support a ban on unconventional gas exploration, extraction and production”.

With the largest women’s organisation in Australia now having this policy endorsed by one of its founding chapters, NSW Nationals leader and MP for Monaro John Barilaro’s statement that he saw no reason why the coal seam gas industry should not be supported in areas of the state where it would not affect prime agricultural land is not looking as robust a proposition as he perhaps thought two weeks ago.

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.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Santos in the Pilliga could mean light and fugitive emissions pollution for Siding Spring Observatory

The Santos Narrabri Gas Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the Pilliga region is on public exhibition until 22 May 2017 and submissions can be made online by concerned individuals until then.



Santos plan to build an 850 coal seam gasfield near Siding Spring Observatory has been submitted to the NSW Govt. They plan to triple the amount of pilot flares and double the amount of huge flares, adding damaging light pollution to our region in defiance of the recent declaration of this area being Australia’s only Dark Sky Park recognised internationally.


Copy and paste this provided submission below to this link or write your own with the information provided.

This submission has been written to draw attention to the unacceptable impacts of Santos current plan with light pollution from their upcoming 850 gaswells and flares near Siding Spring Observatory. It is a simple solution, as recommended by the NSW EPA to enclose all flares, not just for emissions and cleaner burning, but also to reduce the amount of unnecessary light pollution from giant flames lighting the night sky.

Siding Spring Observatory is Australia’s only unique science research facility using the largest optical telescopes for astrophysics and astronomy. First established in Coonabarabran NSW, on the Warrumbungle Ranges in the 1960’s it was built here because of the dark skies in this region. While there is historic value of this site from telescopes established over 50 years ago, this observatory hosts the largest optical telescopes from national and international universities and research entities. Not only hosting the largest, this site hosts the second, third, fourth, fifth largest telescopes etc in Australia, playing a key role in science research across the Southern Hemisphere. Over 50 telescopes are listed across the site being used by over 30 universities, institutions and private businesses using cutting edge technology, with some of the most advanced telescopes being used is astrophysical research. Future plans include another 50 telescopes to be built on site within the next decade. All this is reliant on keeping the dark sky dark! If this area was to lose the dark sky, this observatory would not be replicated again in Australia, but moved elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

From 2013 onwards light emissions from the Santos gasfield exploration have increased to the point that, just the Bibblewindi large flare and unmanned facility alone, creates more light pollution than the entire town of nearby Coonabarabran with over 3500 people residing there. Santos have listed plans to triple the amount of pilot flares and double the amount of large flares including constructing 50 metre high flare stacks, with an average 30 metre high flame above it. Nowhere do they list the EPAs recommended practice to enclose flares, as has been done in NSW areas such as Gloucester. Enclosing flares is the only acceptable mitigation to protect the scientific community from the unnecessary light pollution they plan to emit. Siding Spring Observatory already has to deal with light pollution from existing mining and regional towns. Even Sydney itself, from over 400kms away can affect research from its light glow.

Santos are a lot closer than this. Every bit of extra light pollution is making it more difficult to continue the leading scientific research, and while each pollute in different levels, most consider they aren’t doing any damage. But it’s the combination with the existing light sources, adding a cumulative effect which is becoming worse as more pollution is created.

In summary, this is a simple fix in this case, as while Santos building infrastructure is willing to comply with shielded lights for buildings, they need to go a step further and enclose all current and future flares as the NSW EPA recommend. It is the only acceptable solution.


your name

Where to submit
(Click link then scroll to bottom)

Please copy and paste or add your own information. Privacy is an option if you do not want your name made public. Take this opportunity now to help protect Siding Spring Observatory. There will not be another chance.


People For The Plains

Siding Spring Observatory - A Priceless Resource Under Threat

Astronomers at Australia’s world-leading Siding Spring Observatory are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential threat to the observatory from adjacent coal seam gasfields. 

So much so that leading astronomers Robert McNaught and Malcolm Hartley have taken their protests directly to Santos.

Astronomer McNaught commented, “To put at risk the world class status of Siding Spring Observatory is both illogical and galling. It’s also infuriating that community concerns are being trampled upon by both government and industry.” 

The threat of light pollution from gas flares and infrastructure (expected to equal that of a reasonable sized town) and the increase of particulates in the air from flares, increased traffic on unsealed roads and clearing, has prompted the protest against Santos.

Other concerned astronomers and the community of Coonabarabran are united against coal seam gas (CSG) developments in the area.

The iconic observatory has been an important scientific tool and economic boon for the Coonabarabran area and Australia for over 50 years, with 30,000 visitors annually, many of them school children and family groups. About $5 million dollars is injected into the local economy each year.

The Federal Government has highlighted the protection of the observatory as one of the key areas it will be looking at in the Environmental Impact Statement of the Narrabri Gas Project, because of its importance to the regional economy and the national astronomy sector.

The site was chosen due to its high elevation, low humidity, non-turbulent atmosphere, clean air and clear night skies. These attributes bring astronomers from around the globe.

Siding Spring is the largest optical astronomy research centre in Australia, now with 47 Australian and international telescopes, and with more international and local research institutes looking to expand, including Japan and the US. 

More than $100 million worth of research equipment is located at the observatory.

Siding Spring employs many technical and maintenance staff, with around 40 living in Coonabarabran and another 50 (not including astronomers) living in Sydney and Canberra.

The observatory has been integral in the discovery of many comets, asteroids and galaxies and is renowned throughout the world.

Recent discoveries include the oldest known star, the largest comprehensive mapping of the universe in the world, and an intensive study of the closest known super nova.

The Siding Spring Observatory survived destruction during bushfires in 2013 and is now under threat by the proposed Santos coal seam gas developments in the Pilliga Forest and future expansion into other PELs including the Liverpool Plains and Coonabarabran itself.

The threat to Siding Spring Observatory is just one of many issues created by proposed Santos CSG developments that have led to community solidarity against Santos in Coonabarabran and opposition in the surrounding area.

The Guardian, 21 October 2014:

As well as light pollution, astronomers are concerned that material dispersed from mining operations will be corrosive to telescope lenses. Siding Spring has around 50 high-grade telescopes pointing at the heavens.

Peter Small, who provides technical support for Siding Spring, said an existing mining operation at Boggabri already gives off more light than the neighbouring towns of Narrabri and Gunnedah.

“We get light pollution from that – we even get light pollution from Sydney, which is 400km away, so you don’t have to be that close,” he said.

“This will reduce visibility. If there’s light pollution from anywhere, never mind about the gasfields, this site becomes unviable. It would shut down and all those local jobs would be lost.

Astronomers Malcolm Hartley and Robert McNaught

Monday, 3 April 2017

Dear Mr. Hogan, What is your position on your leader's plan to encourage the gas industry by mandating that landowners "hosting" wells be given 10% of royalties?

Knitting Nannas Against Gas
Grafton Loop
c/- PO Box 763
Grafton 2460


24th March 2017

Mr Kevin Hogan MP
Member for Page
63 Molesworth St

Dear Mr Hogan

Barnaby Joyce’s Gas Royalty Plan

The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas was surprised to hear that the National Party Leader, Barnaby Joyce, is promoting a plan which he believes will lead to community acceptance of CSG and unconventional gas mining in areas of our nation where there has been strong resistance to this invasive and polluting industry.

We believe that Mr Joyce has no appreciation of the deleterious impacts of gas-mining which have been overwhelmingly demonstrated in Queensland as well as in other parts of the world. We also believe that his attempt to bribe landowners will not lead to community acceptance of the industry.

Some of the Nannas in our Loop have experience of what a Queensland gasfield is like and how appalling living in or near a gasfield is to local communities. You might care to read Nanna Lynette’s gasfield inspection report on the Nannas’ blog at:

Mr Hogan, you previously supported those who opposed the industry in your electorate. (We are uncertain whether this concern about the industry extended beyond your electorate to other parts of the nation.)

What is your position on your leader’s plan to encourage the gas industry by mandating that landowners “hosting” wells be given 10% of royalties?

Do you believe that this bribe will ensure that neighbouring landowners (as differing from directly impacted landowners) will accept the industry in their areas? Do you believe that the rest of the community will accept the industry?
We look forward to your response.


Leonie Blain
on behalf of the Grafton Nannas

Sunday, 2 April 2017

NSW Berejiklian Government continues to say no to coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers region

The Daily Examiner, 22 March 2017:

THE NSW Government has ruled out coal seam gas mining and exploration on the North Coast.

Deputy Premier John Barlilaro put a line through it yesterday during unveiling of the The North Coast Regional Plan at Coffs Harbour yesterday.

"We've heard the community's viewpoint on coal seam gas loud and clear and this plan states that CSG resources on the North Coast will remain in the ground,” Mr Barlilaro said.

The Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, was another member of the government happy to keep CSG in the ground.

"Despite what the deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, might be saying there is no appetite for coal seam gas mining on the North Coast,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Mr Joyce last week floated a national plan to give farmers who allowed gas wells on their land a 10% share of the royalties generated….

Mr Gulaptis said there was also no appetite to allow CSG mining exploration in the government.

"The government has bought up the exploration licences on the North Coast and in reality there's plenty of natural gas around,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said the claims of a "gas shortage” in Australia were hard to understand.

"We've got plenty of gas in Australia,” he said. "The issues seems to be ensuring there is enough of it directed to domestic supply and not go offshore.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources seeks to place farm lands and water security in jeopardy

This man is the Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party of Australia and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Photograph found at The AIM Network

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce is also the same man who is irresponsibly calling for the dismantling of the already inadequate protections afforded rural and regional lands and water resources when coal seam gas miners move into a district.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has started dismantling Australia's sweeping ban on coal seam gas drilling, arguing a new scheme to divert a share of government royalties to farmers will overcome furious opposition in the bush.

Mr Joyce on Friday embraced a South Australian government plan to pay farmers 10 per cent of royalties in exchange for allowing gas wells on their land, saying the scheme should be rolled out nationally, with an exclusion of prime agricultural land.

The Agriculture Minister said lifting moratoriums and giving landholders a fair price in exchange for access would equate to "a substantial turnaround in attitude and that is a very good outcome".

"I can't see people who start making hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of dollars a year having a backlash," Mr Joyce told Fairfax Media.

"I think you'll probably find them onside."

Mr Joyce's comments could cause political problems in regional Australia and will be opposed by some MPs in the Coalition party room, where views about the environmental, social and electoral impacts of CSG remain mixed……

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson said moratoriums were "blunt instruments" but still needed "because of the lack of confidence the community, including the farming community, have in the way governments have regulated the gas industry in the past".

"Until we have absolute confidence these concerns have been addressed, then moratoriums will be part of the response," she said.

But Joyce said excluding prime agricultural land and productive aquifers from exploration would address most concerns….

Ms Simson said the National Farmers Federation welcomed the South Australian plan to "adequately compensate" farmers, but said "it's never been just about the money".

"The two things we can't and won't compromise on is the secure access to water and land," she said.

NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin said the state gas plan "makes clear that landholders and communities will share in the benefits of gas development, and the government has already made legislative changes to deliver on this commitment."

Since July 2016 companies have been able to apply to establish a Community Benefits Fund from which individuals and organisations can apply for grants for community initiatives.

NSW landowners are also entitled to compensation under a land access agreement struck with a company wishing to drill on their land.

"Further compensation may be payable to landowners if there is any loss or damage resulting from exploration or production," Mr Harwin said.

But opponents say this is insufficient as landowners still have no right to refuse access.

NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said of Mr Joyce's statement: "Barnaby hasn't got the message that farmers won't be bribed. Rural community know coal seam gas destroys land values".

This is what typical coal seam gas production wells, supporting infrastructure and access roads looks like on rural land.

ABC Four Corners, 3 April 2013

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Whatever happened to Metgasco Limited?

After Metgasco Limited left the NSW Northern Rivers region with its pockets stuffed full of compensation dollars because local communities resisted its efforts to create a coal seam gas industry in the middle of biodiverse, culturally rich and productive rural landscapes, it temporarily sank from sight.

According to Metgasco:

Metgasco appears to be partly or wholly exploring on land over which the Wongkamara peoples hold Native Title.

The company has another project underway in the Gulf of Mexico where it has acquired farm-in rights from Byron Energy Ltd in exchange for an est. A$1.3m investment – thereby deploying  approx. 27% of Metgasco’s current financial resources.

Peter Henderson, the CEO that Metgasco let go in May 2016 with a $300,000 handshake, was last heard of looking for work with Perth-based Tap Oil Limited.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Narrabri Shire Council caught red handed

Clarence Valley readers might remember Narrabri Shire Council as one of those NSW local governments pushing to dam and divert the Clarence River and interested in creating a Yamba mega port.

Now they have apparently been caught red handed attempting to stack an online survey in favour of coal seam gas mining in the Pilliga area:

via @PilligaPush


Narrabri Shire Council will be forced to hire an independent reviewer, after both its general manager and mayor received code of conduct complaints for the same incident.
The complaints arose following an email sent out to all council staff, asking them to vote in a poll about coal seam gas in Narrabri.
Questions have been raised about who directed the email to be sent to staff, which council has so far ignored.
The Leader understands two councillors made a complaint against general manager Stewart Todd, after seeking advice from the NSW Office of Local Government, who informed them they were obligated to make a complaint if they believed the code of conduct had been breached.
Narrabri Ratepayers Association also made a code of conduct complaint against mayor Catherine Redding.
Normally when a code of conduct complaint is made against the general manager, the mayor would handle the complaint, and vice versa.
However, given both complaints relate to the same issue, the matter will be referred to an external independent conduct reviewer. 
Narrabri Shire Council refused to answer The Leader’s questions because of the confidential nature of the matter.
Office of Local Government documents indicate information that identifies the complainants is not to be disclosed, however, that “does not apply to code of conduct complaints made by councillors about other councillors or the general manager”.
The email in question was sent out to all council staff on February 9, implying employees should stack an online survey which asked “Do you want CSG in Narrabri?”

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Northern Rivers Knitting Nannas visit Queensland gas field

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition Inc. website published this post on 30 November 2016:

Nanna Lynette's Report

I found that although I’d seen many photos and movies of gasfields and had heard people talk about them, nothing prepared me for visiting a gasfield and walking around the infrastructure and hearing the massive amount of noise. The size of the Kenya gasfield and the amount of infrastructure was mind-blowing.  
The gas from the field is piped to the Kenya processing plant and after processing is piped to Gladstone. The processing plant, which covers an area of a couple of acres, consists of three massive metal structures about five storeys high.  The noise coming from this was horrendous. We were standing about a kilometre away and where we were the noise was deafening.

The next part of the tour was a visit to the State Forest where some of the actual Kenya gaswells are. Initially they were about a kilometre apart but when production slowed they drilled other wells in between the existing ones so that the wells were then 500 metres apart.  Each well sits in a cleared pad of at least a quarter of an acre.  This means you’ve a fractured environment because the ground is bare except for some gravel over it.  And each well makes a horrific noise as well.

The whole area is massively noisy and dusty because of all the clearing.  
The cleared pipeline corridors are about 100 metres wide and have been taken over by weeds like fireweed.  Along the main pipeline there are vents – high point vents and low point vents about 400 metres apart. 

The high point vents vent raw gas 24 hours a day. Of course this smells.  It just goes straight into the atmosphere. The low point vents expel moisture which is collected in troughs and presumably evaporates if it doesn’t overflow….

Read the full post here.

This is a timely reminder of what could still happen here as the Baird Government has not guaranteed the permanent gas-free status of the NSW Northern Rivers region, has reserved the right to once again issue petroleum exploration licenses [PELs] and, As part of a deal that extinguished previous applications for CSG leases, the government agreed to insert a clause in legislation giving priority to previous claimants. This was on behalf of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which had made four appli­cations for gas exploration leases.

As late as March 2016 the Baird Government has been telling overseas mining interests that "The Clarence-Morton basin has very good petroleum potential……Almost all wells drilled … have yielded gas and/or oil".