Community outraged over fracking threat

Citizens of Geelong are outraged to find out that the oil and gas company Lakes Oil is coming to the region. The company acquired an exploration license for ‘tight gas’, a kind of ‘unconventional’ gas. This exploration is likely to involve the controversial fracking (hydraulic fracturing) technique which is known to contaminate aquifers with toxic chemicals.

MVI_9546_arms-up

The license currently covers the outskirts of Geelong at Waurn Ponds, as well as taking in Anglesea, Torquay, and vast tracts of farmland in-between.

The company has not been willing to reveal when they will start the drilling, or where, but rumours have spread that they could begin test drilling and exploration as early as January 2014.

Upon hearing this, an unlikely mix of local farmers, fishermen, tradesmen, civil servants, teachers, doctors, artists, students, and parents from Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast have begun preparing for the arrival of ‘the frackers’.





Keep fracking companies out
Three action groups have emerged in the last few weeks, taking inspiration from the methods which have been used in Gippsland and New South Wales to keep the fracking companies out. In these places, one community after the next has declared itself ‘Coal and Unconventional Gas Free’ after surveying their communities and finding over 95 percent of residents support keeping coal and gas companies out.

“After hearing about the exploration license over Geelong and surrounds, we made contact with people from farming communities in Gippsland who have already had bad encounters with Lakes Oil and are coming together to drive them out. We’ve seen what fracking has done to communities in Queensland and across the USA. We can’t risk that kind of contamination happening here,” said Frack Free Geelong group member, Anthony Gleeson


Global call for ban on fracking
These new groups in the Geelong area are also linking with an international movement against the process of ‘fracking’, which has devastated communities across the world. October the 19th was a global day of action calling for a ban on fracking. Groups from 200 cities in 25 different countries participated. At Geelong’s waterfront a group of concerned citizens joined them to demand that the current moratorium on fracking in Victoria is strengthened into an outright ban on all types of fracking.

The moratorium only applies to Shale Gas whereas Coal Seam Gas mining could start at any time.

“There are no regulations in place to make sure some of the safety standards that exist, exist in Victoria,” said Associate Professor Samantha Hepburn, Deakin University’s expert on environmental property and natural resource management: “Striking a balance between farming and coal seam gas mining will be difficult. The intersection between mining and agriculture, and in particular the impact that coal seam gas mining will have upon food security, is a major concern.”

The action comes in the wake of the release of a report by Peter Reith, recommending the state government lift the current moratorium on fracking as soon as possible.

“Fracking is not part of anyone’s vision for a clean energy future for Geelong. We thought we were safe under the moratorium against fracking. But with the Reith report, we can now see that this will no longer be the case. The Napthine government is keen to step up the drilling for gas, and Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is saying that companies should extract ‘every molecule’ of gas to boost exports and supply the domestic market. In addition, Geelong City Council is keen on expanding the city’s port for fossil fuel exports. What this means is that we must take bolder steps as individuals to protect our land and our future,” said Anthony Gleeson.

“These are our choices: Do you want healthy jobs, or unhealthy jobs? Do you want clean drinking water, or water contaminated with toxic chemicals? Do you want farmland for food production, or do we want to see it raped? Do we want to continue business as usual and suffer the impacts of runaway climate change? Or do we want to move into a job-rich clean energy future?”

The three groups Frack Free Geelong, Frack Free Bellarine and Frack Free Surf Coast will meet next at Trades Hall in Geelong on the 28th of October at 6pm.


Media coverage of this event

advertiser-article21oct_200► Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Licence sparks fracking friction
A mining licence that could see controversial fracking on the outskirts of Geelong must be stopped, protesters have said. Article by Anthea Cannon

► Armstrong Creek Times – October 2013:
Community groups vent their opposition to fracking
Article by James Taylor



For more comment please contact:
Anthony Gleeson
»  Phone:   0447 619736
»  E-mail:   anthonygleeson@climatesafety.info

For more information see:
»  www.globalfrackdown.org
»  www.facebook.com/FrackFreeGeelong
»  www.climatesafety.info/FrackFree

Audio recordings:
»  Speakers at a meeting in Geelong on 24 September 2013: www.climatesafety.info/?p=4663

Video recording:
» Short videoclip from 19 October at Geelong Waterfront: youtu.be/BpxgQg6GX9U

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Photo above: At Geelong’s waterfront a group of concerned citizens joined the ‘Global Frackdown’ campaign to demand that the current moratorium on fracking in Victoria is strengthened into an outright ban on all types of fracking.

Photo copyright: Photo by Mik Aidt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia and can be published in print media free of charge.

» Download photo in high resolution


Map: from Petroleum Exploration Permit no 163

Geelong-and-AngleseaPEP163_800

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FRACK FREE GEELONG REGION

» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeGeelong
» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeBellarine
» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeSurfCoast

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“The Global Frackdown shows that the movement for a ban on fracking is truly worldwide. To frack or not to frack comes down to this simple choice: do we want another fifty years of dependency and addiction to toxic fossil fuels, or do we want to move on, worldwide, to renewable energy.

From every perspective be it water and air contamination, global climate change or the health of our democracies worldwide, we need to break from the past. The Global Frackdown is one of many powerful moments where the world is saying we need to move on.
Josh Fox, the director of Gasland and Advisory Board Member for Americans Against Fracking


Common Dreams – 18 October 2013:
Activists on Six Continents to Urge Global Leaders to Ban Fracking



“Like throwing fuel onto fire”
~ Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Melbourne


MEDIA COVERAGE – CLIPPINGS FROM THE PRESS

► Geelong Independent – 15 November 2013:
Barwon Water ‘fracking’ fears
Barwon Water has revealed concerns about fracking potentially contaminating water supplies.
By John van Klaveren

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► Geelong Independent – 8 November 2013:
New ‘fracking’ permit: Otways up for exploration
State Government has issued a new permit to explore “fracking” opportunities in the Otway basin despite a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) extraction, according to shadow resources minister John Lenders.
By John van Klaveren

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► Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
Armour achieve shale gas first
Armour Energy has become the first Australian company to flow gas from shale using the fracking technique that has revolutionised US energy markets. (…) The boom in shale gas – which is gas trapped in rocks at deeper levels than both conventional and coal seam gas – due to advances in drilling technology has given US industry a boost by providing cheaper energy. Armour’s chief executive Robbert (Robbert) de Weijer said the company wanted to provide a similar solution in Australia.

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► Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
EDITORIAL: Moving to renewable energy
Investment of $5 million and potentially up to $25 million by the State Government in local geothermal power exploration has been welcomed by renewal energy supporters. If successful, the Geelong Geothermal Power Project could bring about a 140-megawatt plant providing clean, renewable power for 100,000 homes. Under the initial agreement between Spring St and Greenearth, a pilot power station will look to generate 12mW using hot water from 4 km underground.

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► Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
Your Say
The revelation, by an Australian mining company in the UK, that fracking has caused earth tremors near Blackpool was enough for Tony Windsor to withhold support for renewable energy “until the science is in”. Are we to allow Ted Baillieu and his Spring Street colleagues to compromise both the homes of the Otways and the water table beneath Anglesea? Shame, Ted, shame!!
By Kevin

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► Geelong Advertiser – 1 November 2013:
Growing opposition to CSG in Victoria
The Labor Party, environment groups and the Greens say there must be a proper public consultation process before coal seam gas (CSG) extraction is introduced in Victoria.

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► Armstrong Creek Times – October 2013:
Community groups vent their opposition to fracking
By James Taylor

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► Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Licence sparks fracking friction
A mining licence that could see controversial fracking on the outskirts of Geelong must be stopped, protesters have said.

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► Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Your Say
To Dylan of Geelong and others. When you have a gas flame coming out of you kitchen sink tap, with the water, like they did in Queensland and USA, etc. Plus you, your pet’s or farm animals, are getting sick or deseased or die. And you can’t grow anything, there goes your livihood. Or sell your property. Under ground table water is posioned, is that how you wish to live. Then, fair enough you go for it. See the documentaries, about this happening.
By Jock

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► Geelong Independent | Letters – 27 June 2013:
Frack and ruin
Phone the Energy Minister on 9651 1156, or email the Premier, and ask for the moratorium on fracking to be extended to all similar practives and made permanent.
By Christopher Bates

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► Geelong Independent – 27 June 2013:
Geelong ‘front’ of fracking
A stretch of farmland between Geelong and Anglesea could become a battleground on the controversial mining practice of fracking.
By John van Klaveren

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► Colac Herald – 19 June 2013:
Fracking fear for Otways
Colac district residents fear mining companies will mine for gas in the Otways, pumping chemicals underground.
By Scott Barnes

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► Geelong Independent – 13 June 2013:
Region a ‘fracking’ target
The controversial practice of “fracking” could come to Geelong after oil and gas explorer Lakes Oil revealed it was conducting geological and geophysical studies in the region.
By John van Klaveren

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► Stock and Land – 3 June 2013:
SE targeted for gas mining
Farmers and activists want ironclad guarantees that unconventional gas exploration in the Otway Basin will not lead to contamination of aquifers underpinning agricultural production in the South East. A 5657-square kilometre mining block in the Otway Basin closed for bidding in April, confirming the region’s status as a key component in the State Government’s Roadmap for Unconventional Gas in South Australia.
By Malcolm Sutton



Learn more

If you would like to learn more, go to this page:
Geelong protests against fracking
…where you can sign up to participate in the movement



Previous posts from the Frack Free groups


The following was published on 11 October 2013:

Global Frackdown on 19 October – also in Geelong

Are you ready to get down with the Global Frackdown to call for a ban on fracking? Show your support for a frack-free Geelong, Bellarine and Surf Coast on 19 October 2013.

globalfrackdown-gee_858x500

19 October 2013 is the Global Frackdown2 – an international day to stop fracking.

If you oppose fracking for unconventional gas in all it’s forms and would like to ensure it doesn’t happen in Geelong region, Bellarine or Surf Coast, join us to tell Lakes Oil “NO FRACKING WAY!!”

We will be gathering on the grass at Geelong waterfront near the carousel to take a group photo at 1.30pm.

Sign up for the photo shoot



» More about the international event on globalfrackdown.org


Global Frackdown Mission statement

Fracking for oil and gas is inherently unsafe and the harms of this industry cannot be fully mitigated by regulation. We reject the multi-million dollar public relations campaign by big oil and gas companies and urge our local, state, and national officials to reject fracking.

We stand united as a global movement in calling on governmental officials at all levels to pursue a renewable energy future and not allow fracking or any of the associated infrastructure in our communities or any communities.

We are communities fighting fracking, frac sand mining, pipelines, compressor stations, LNG terminals, exports of natural gas, coal seam gas, coal bed methane and more. Fracking is not part of our vision for a clean energy future and should be banned.


Join the Global Frackdown

Global Frackdown2 is initiated and co-ordinated by the American organisation Food & Water Watch in Washington DC. Here’s how you can take part or help:

» Help promote an event near you, or register your own. Check out this list for more details: globalfrackdown.org/events

» For help planning an event, download the Global Frackdown Action Toolkit: Global-Frackdown2-Toolkit.pdf

» Find images, videos and sample tweets to share on social media here: http://www.globalfrackdown.org/social-media/


Frack Free Newsletter no 2

On 11 October 2013, we sent out a newsletter to around 70 people in Geelong region, Bellarine & Surf Coast – about the following topics:

• Next meeting: on Tuesday
• Excerpt from the film ‘Fractured Country’ now on youtube.com
• Harmers Haven: Frack free community celebration on 27 October
• Fracking news and reading material:
– Ross Gittins: Fracking fools
– Fracking a headache for Napthine
– Can rural vet practice survive mining?
– EU to put a brake on fracking
– Letter to the British Ambassador
– Marcellus Shale Exposed: Tony Ingraffea
• Extra

If you would like to receive this ‘frack free’ newsletter, then send an email to frackfree@climatesafety.info with a short text explaining about why you’d like to learn more about this, whether you would like to help with the campaigning, and also whether you’d like to be on the mailinglist to receive the next newsletters.

 


Excerpt from the film ‘Fractured Country’ now on youtube

Make sure that your neighbours, friends and family get to see this.

» ‘Fractured Country’ webisode 01 (Duration: 8:58) on youtube.com

» Download the videofile to your harddrive (MP4-format, 720p)

Lock the Gate Alliance has started releasing their two new films, ‘Undermining Australia’ and ‘Fractured Country’, as shortened excerpts on youtube.com and vimeo.com.
The first excerpt from ‘Fractured Country’, the film we screened in Geelong, has a duration of 9 minutes.

Over the next two months, Lock the Gate Alliance will be releasing a new ‘webisode’ every Monday, so that you can follow the amazing stories of courage and loss told firsthand by farming families as they face a rapacious and uncaring industry.

Lock the Gate Alliance writes: “Feedback to the films from around the country has been fantastic and we are now thrilled to be able to share them in bite sized format with you. We would love to hear what you think so why not leave a comment or a message to those that featured in the films?

With your support we can defend the country that we love and everything that makes it unique.  Please make a donation today so that our voice becomes stronger, amplified by an ever greater number of people touched by these films.”

» Read more: lockthegate.org.au/webisodes

On youtube.com the film ‘Fractured Country’ has been split up in six ‘webisodes’:

Webisode 1 – youtube.com/watch?v=KA9Doq2283E

Webisode 2 – youtube.com/watch?v=BLTsuLR9gbY

Webisode 3 – youtube.com/watch?v=MtqdgOtZ2mM

Webisode 4 – food – youtube.com/watch?v=OZHQXNqr-3Q

Webisode 5 – natural icons – youtube.com/watch?v=WyOp4W0bCF8

Webisode 6 – community – youtube.com/watch?v=gUjOKDYVYIU

» For more information, go to lockthegate.org.au/films

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online poll by Opinion Stage

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FOR A FRACK FREE GEELONG REGION
» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeGeelong
» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeBellarine
» www.facebook.com/FrackFreeSurfCoast

 

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» www.climatesafety.info/fracking




Previous blogposts about this topic

icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Movement for a frack free Geelong region


icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Geelong protests against fracking


icon_small-arrow_RIGHT Help make our region fossil fuel free



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