06 March, 2014

US Farmer warns Blue Mountains of CSG danger



US Farmer warns Blue Mountains of CSG danger

Wyoming farmer and reluctant film star from the movie Gasland, John Fenton has sent a message of warning to Blue Mountains residents. 

"Don't let them frack  in your Blue Mountains."

John Fenton is travelling around Australia telling communities  just what fracking has done in his part of the USA.

"On our 950 acres we have 24 gas well, all the related infrastructure: pipelines, dehydration units, production tanks and more.   It is a noisy, industrial scar on a once tranquil, rural landscape."

However, he added that this is not the worst of their problems

"Our animals are dying.  One day my neighbour had nine bulls drop dead from drinking the water from a contaminated ground water well.

"After sampling aquifer water in our area the EPA has found oil, methane, toxic chemicals and a whole range of other dangerous carcinogens.  Our community was warned not to drink the water and to shower with windows open so as to prevent a build up of explosive gas.  We take all the precautions but still people are developing serious illnesses."

Mr Fenton recently took a day off during his tight schedule to take a look around the Blue Mountains.  He said

"Sometimes when people live in a beautiful part of the world like the Blue Mountains, they think that those areas will always be protected.  We thought that.  We live in a beautiful part of the United States in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.   I can tell you:  nowhere is safe."

He disputed claims by Australian politicians and industry spokespeople who claim that there has never been a case of water contamination:

 'We are living proof.   Come visit me in Wyoming."

He said another issue not often discussed is the link of fracking to earthquakes.

"A place in Texas that has never had earthquakes, in the last three years has had fifty.  We are fundamentally changing the structure of the earth."

Jan O'Leary of Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains said

"We already have one approved CSG exploration licence hovering over our heads here and now we have an application for another covering a huge area of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.  We could well go the same way as Wyoming.  I have asked  our MP Roza Sage if she will be opposing this new application.  She has not answered my question."

Commenting on the new CSG licence, Greens NSW MLC Jeremy Buckingham who invited Mr Fenton to Australia, said

"It is completely inappropriate for the government to be even considering this new exploration licence for coal seam gas before the Chief Scientist has handed down her report on the practice.  Also the NSW government's recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Santos in the Pilliga is a very, very bad sign for people concerned with coal seam gas in the Blue Mountains.  It shows they are green lighting their backing of the industry."

Mr. Fenton expressed his admiration for the resistance to coal seam gas activity he has seen in Australia.  He remarked

"There is some real courage in Australia.  I wish we had the foresight to lock ourselves to a gate.  You guys have got so much courage.  Don't lose that."

More information about the new exploration licence application and how to register objections to it can be found on the Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains website:  http://stopcsgbm.net.au

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