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Unconventional gas stopped in Australia

March 13, 2013

“Today, in my region we are celebrating.” 

So begins a post by Mariann Lloyd-Smith (contact information below) from New South Wales, Australia — shared by Sandra Steingraber. Mariann shares an extraordinary story ranging from “Gals against gas” in Super Girl outfits to nonviolent action, including blockades:

After announcements earlier this week that the Australian government will introduce new laws for assessing unconventional gas impacts, today, the Australian coal seam gas (CSG) company,  Metgasco announced it is suspending all exploration and production in the northern rivers area. They cited regulatory uncertainty and blamed the State government’s recent 2 kilometre CSG exclusion zone for residential areas and agricultural infrastructure.

This successful campaign was won with combined action of people from all walks of life and shades of politics using all forms of campaigning and protesting including rallies and concerts attended by 10,000s, ‘the knitting nannas’ , the Gals against gas in their super girl outfits and the brave souls who undertook non violent action and blockading of CSG activities.  As with most campaigns now, social media played such an important part and the consolidated action proved too much for this company and its shareholders, with the share price plummeting.

Importantly, the Lock the Gate,  ‘lock the road’ movement which saw community after community declare their road, street or village opposed to this industry meant that despite regulatory permits and political support, the CSG industry could never claim they had a social license.

The win also showed  the benefit of having a well informed and empowered public. It demonstrated the real need for NGOs working in toxics to help inform and educate local communities facing the threat of unconventional gas activities. Providing written and video forms of global and importantly, local information on chemicals,  their regulation and air and water pollution risks, meant communities felt empowered to argue the hazards of the industry with confidence.

Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith PhD (Law)Senior Advisor, IPEN – International POPs Elimination Network

Senior Advisor, National Toxics Network Inc.PO Box 173 Bangalow NSW 2479 (612) 66815340 / 0413 621557

Read more: from “Metagasco puts CSG on hold

North coast miner Metgasco has sent shockwaves through the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in NSW this morning, announcing it has suspended exploration, blaming the state government’s recent changes for the move.

The company, which has faced a massive groundswell of community opposition, issued a statement this morning announcing the suspension, but failed to mention proposed new federal powers to halt new CSG mining projects if they impact on groundwater.

Yesterday, Page MP Janelle Saffin, who had lobbied environment minister Toby Burke to intervene, warned that the new federal laws would ‘effectively put an end to the aspirations of CSG companies on the north coast’.

  1. March 13, 2013 9:44 am

    Great news! Maybe Australia is a step closer to kicking the coal industry out, as well. An enormous amount of coal is mined there, with predictable results.

  2. Ann Dixon permalink
    March 13, 2013 9:56 am

    This struggle is really a world issue. Makes me feel connected and grateful to those on the other side of the globe.

  3. jason sheaff permalink
    March 14, 2013 8:43 am

    I was one of the Aussie protesors at A place called Glenugie one of 2 sites under fire from a CSG exploration company. Glenugie has a population of about 30 people. A couple of local support groups from around the region as well as a few facebook groups joined in to lend a hand, at times there were only 4 people staying over night but A vigil was always present.The exploration rig arrived on the hottest day in Australias history and supported by around 60 police officers [ 30 riot police ] aprox 250 protestors tried to stand their ground with over a half a dozen LOCK ONS performed [ I think there was 9 in total] riot police shoving the crowd along a long hot road with 18 arrests but we were not fazed, we knew we were in the right and standing up for our future generations water and living conditions.That was in December. now 4 months later the company has decided to pull out.To halt operations. A victory for now but somebody else will buy that company and who knows they may have other tactics for us but we will be here waiting with our creativeness and our passion. We will not lose this fight we can’t afford to.

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