Keerrong Gas Squad

Keerrong Gas Squad believes there is no place on this Aquifer dependant continent for Coal Seam Gas Hydraulic Fracturing. We are not calling for a moratorium. We are calling for a total BAN.


Our Vision: Keerrong Gas Squad – Anti-fracking kit. Document submitted to the Commonwealth government by the Keerrong Gas Squad in relation to coal seam gas mining.

We, The Keerrong Gas Squad (Kgs) have a list of demands and we intend that they be adopted and applied all over Australia. We are not politically aligned, and expect all parties to demonstrate before the upcoming NSW election.
• There is no place on this Aquifer dependant continent for Coal Seam Gas Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) We are not calling for a moratorium. We are calling for a total BAN.
• We demand fully paid INSURANCE (not assurance) for the long term Quality and Security and supply of our water.
• That water, and all it produces be fully valued in dollar terms, in each bio-region (catchment)
• The process of fracking, with or without chemicals has the capacity to destroy our water supply irreversibly for current and future generations.
• It has the capacity to taint our water, that it threatens all biological organisms, food supplies, even air supply.
• Recent events have demonstrated that local, state and Federal governments lack the capacity to adequately foresee even minor disasters. Assurances are not worth the paper that they are written on.
• The cost of damaging our water supplies should not be born by our taxpayers. It could be charged to the customers of our product overseas. This follows the basic principle of “user pays”. The gas has already been sold by state and Federal governments.

We consider these conditions fair and reasonable AKA “Fair Dinkum”
We understand that coal seam gas mining to be the greatest threat Australia has ever faced.
Water IS Life !

The Northern Rivers Region now finds itself contemporary with the national situation, the monster is in the room and there is no doubt about who the monster is: It is the Coal Seam Gas Mining Industry! Many people ask why particular concern with CSG. That is the question and we will revisit it shortly, but first let’s have a look, let’s contextualise our local situation. In the last few years we have seen (simply by watching the news) state governments sign away hundreds of billions, yes billions of dollars worth of gas all across the continent in every state of Australia. The market is basically China and Japan. The gas is to be delivered in the next thirty years by pipeline to the vessel delivery; that is to ships waiting offshore. Amidst much fanfare we are gearing up for a new clean gas era; we are gearing up nationally for a new national mining industry. We in the Clarence- Moreton Basin which underlies the surface biology from Grafton through the Northern Rivers, then up into Southern Queensland are living over the most abundant gas seams in NSW There has been at least 47 penetrations of the aquifers to date or drill sites put in across the region in Keerrong, Lismore, Tabulam, Casino, Urbenville, Woodenbong to name a few. The capture and release of this gas will depend on hydraulic fracturing. To put it simply, they have already geared up to rip up the northern rivers simultaneously with the rest of the country. We consider it the greatest threat that Australia has ever faced and will explain why.

The national gas industry will be 80 percent dependent on hydraulic fracturing to be economically viable. Fraccing is the process of blasting open aquifers under pressure with sand, water and a highly toxic mix of chemicals. We understand that the use of chemicals is a huge issue in itself but we in the Keerrong gas squad do not want to be led away from the heart of the issue and we contend that the opening up of aquifers on a spring fed, aquifer dependant continent is this heart. At any given moment 70-80 % of Australia’s sweet water is under the ground, water held by rock at various depths within the geological strata created over aeons. There are various rock strata composed naturally of different rock types eg. basalt, quartzite, sandstone and shale to name a few; It is these geological rock strata that hold water at a stasis under pressure. The pressure can vary according to the density and porosity and the level of interference on the aquifer. The coal seam is surrounded by gas at layers from 400 metres to two kilometres down. To reach the gas all aquifers between the surface and the gas have already been punctured, when the geological strata that hold the gas are shattered under pressure what happens to the aquifers is simply unknowable. One site can be repeatedly fracced. They can drill laterally as well as vertically. All aquifers are inter-connected. The findings of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1978 revealed that underground water is very, very old eg. on the western edge of the Great Artesian Basin it was found to be upwards of half a million years old and in the Maitland aquifers it was found to be one hundred thousand years old. Seen through the time frame of a larger lens we can appreciate that this water is hardly a renewable resource in any immediate sense.

The writings of J. Habermahl and k. Waterhouse writing ironically for the mines department in the sixties and seventies urged a harvest of water based on the patterns of recharge. The major recharge areas of the GAB are the great divide from the northern rivers to north Queensland. Poison can travel slowly and insidiously underground and not be detected for decades. All Australians pay for water. A farmer wishing to put down a bore has to get both a license and a quota and the reason for this is to assure a longevity to our most abundant and precious resource, aquifer driven underground water.

However, the mining companies have all of these regulations and checks and balances waived even though they are fast becoming the biggest users of sweet water in the country. There are simply no statistics able to measure their use and abuse of water. In the first instance they are in fact mining water!!! And up to now the government oversight as to what they are signing away has been negligible and their investigation into the results of the fraccing process have been non-existent; We the people have become responsible for this. The government simply accepts the assurances of the mining industry whilst our survival possibilities are being leached away. When the water was found to be polluted with heavy carcinogens in recently fracced sites in Queensland the Queensland Farmers Federation, the NSW Farmers Federation and the National Feedlot Association spearheaded the process of demanding a moratorium on the Coal seam Gas. The farmers understand all too well what damage to the underground water system means for us all and we are with them but we ask not asking for a moratorium but simply an end to this process. Fraccing aquifers is an aberration! The process is irremediable and the toxins that are locked into the coal gas are being and will be spread throughout our aquifer system threatening all waterways and inter-connected water systems on a spring fed continent, thus all biological life forms are threatened, not least our own.

In the Clarence Moreton Basin we have as part of the water management system Rous Water administered by two councillors from each council of the integrated system,: Richmond Valley (Casino), Lismore, Ballina and Byron Bay. They are currently involved in the Reconnect To Country Programme together with the community to devise a system that will offer long term water quality and supply in the region. The invasion by Red Sky, Arrow Energy and the big one Metgasco with the spectre of Shell-Petro China standing behind them puts this whole endeavour under threat. We are waiting to see if the Casino Council will approve the construction of holding ponds, 12 hectares of them next to the Casino airport. We believe that no council within the Rous water system can take independent decisions over the entirety of our water supply. Imagine 12 hectares of toxic water balanced over a floodplain that washes out in Ballina. The approach by Rous Water has been varied but the attempt is to clean the regional water systems. We are in accord with Rous with their intention to extend operations further north to extend water management into a bioregional process as it was in the past. We believe that our system of government should be bio-regionally based and bio-regions are best understood through catchment and integrated water management . Of course our support is contingent on their stance towards coal seam gas mining and on the measures they wish to adopt. And so is the situation across the nation. We have known of the alternatives for decades but the complicity of all levels of government with the mining industry will not allow, in fact ensures that none of these endeavours can flourish.

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