Sunday, 9 December 2012


On Tuesday 4th December the vigil outside Metgasco's  coal seam gas well site at Glenugie became a blockade when trucks carrying fencing arrived.  The number of protesters grew as the news spread.  Six local police were in attendance to clear a passage so that the trucks and other vehicles could enter the site.  Waiting on the site for the equipment was one Metgasco employee – reported as being Stuart George, former Richmond River Councillor and son of Thomas George, Member for Lismore.

Metgasco convoy

 The first major impediment to Metgasco was a campervan  parked on the side of the road and blocking access to the site gate.  Having misplaced her vehicle's keys, the owner was unable to comply with a police order to move it out of the way.  Eventually a recovery truck arrived from Grafton.  The camper was winched onto its tilt tray and driven out of the way.

Protesters blocking access

Once the access was clear, protesters moved in, milling around and blocking the way.  The leading utility moved forward steadily, pushing the protesters back.  While this was happening, local resident Deb Whitley locked herself on under the second truck which was some distance down the hill and away from the police.

Deb Whitley locked on.

Releasing Ms Whitley took some time. The police were unable to cut her free; an ambulance attended for a short time and then a Police Rescue unit arrived and managed to release her.  The arrival of about eight riot police in a van saw additional pressure put on the protesters to move out of the way.  After some discussion, they did so and the Metgasco convoy drove onto the site at around 4.15 pm after  being delayed some hours.

Since then a vigil has been maintained at the site.  The drilling rig is expected to arrive within the next few days.