Thursday 18 September 2014


On September 21 world leaders meet in New York for a United Nations climate summit.  On this day over 1500 events are being held in 130 countries around the world in support of action on climate change.

The Australian Government's response to the urgent issue of climate change has been so weak that it's almost non-existent.  While many world leaders are attending the summit, our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, evidently does not consider it important enough for him to attend. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will be leading the Australian delegation.

We as Australians need to send a strong message to our government that we want strong federal action on climate change.  Please support local events being held on September 21 if you can.  You could also email your local member and the Prime Minister demanding that the government take strong effective action on climate change.

Events happening in our area on Sunday  September 21 are:

10 a.m.  Picnic morning tea on the banks of the Clarence River.
Further information on Facebook.

11 a.m. Wear hot colours like orange and red.  Bring your own signs or banners.
More information.

LISMORE - SPHINKS PARK (behind the transit centre)
Noon. Northern Rivers Climate Action and Healing Day.  March start at 12.30.
More information.

Tuesday 9 September 2014


Residents in the Camden and Gloucester areas have concerns about the proximity of coal seam gas wells to their homes.  Elsewhere in NSW most residential areas have 2 km buffer zones between them and gas wells.
In Camden there are gas wells within 200 metres of homes.  These wells were approved before the Government introduced the 2 km buffer zone in response to a long public campaign to keep wells away from residential areas.  Camden residents are concerned that cracks in walls and subsidence may be due to the proximity of the gasfield.

Their concerns about the gasfield increased on August 31st when a well near Spring Farm homes leaked noisily for several hours forcing residents to call in the fire brigade.  AGL's comments following this incident are unlikely to have reassured local residents.

Last month the State Government gave AGL (the same company operating the Camden gasfield) permission to frack four gas wells less than a kilometre from homes.  (Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process for releasing gas trapped in rock.)

An independent hydrogeologist, Professor Philip Pells, has warned of the high risk of fracking at Gloucester.  AGL's own hydrogeologist , John Ross, has also commented on  the high risk associated with fracking in these four wells.  

There is a major risk of aquifer contamination. Gloucester's position at the head of the Manning River means that any contamination could cause problems for the river and the drinking water for 75,000 people.

The approval of these wells is inconsistent with Government buffer zone policy. Why have a policy that you disregard?

The Lock the Gate organisation is calling on the NSW Government to provide the same rights and protections for Camden and Gloucester residents that everyone else in the state has.  

They are urging the government to do three things.  The first is to suspend AGL's approval to frack at Gloucester and to review all CSG approvals there.  The second is to decommission all existing wells within 2 km of homes at AGL's Camden gasfield.  The third is to investigate and prosecute all pollution incidents at AGL's Camden gasfield.
            - Leonie Blain

This article was published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on Monday 8th September, 2014.

Tuesday 2 September 2014


Dr Greg Clancy, ecologist and Clarence Valley resident, has emailed Rob Stokes, the NSW Minister for the Environment, about a petition he has started to help save the coastal emus of the Clarence. The emus' habitat will be affected by the proposed Pacific Highway upgrade through the Clarence Valley.

A link to Dr Clancy's petition is given at the end of this post.

 I have seen transcripts and heard sections of speeches that you have recently given to various groups.  From these I get the impression that you have a genuine concern for the environment and are willing to take the necessary action to protect it.   I have started a petition to you (that will be submitted in due course) requesting that you intervene to help save the Coastal Emu in the Grafton area.  The Coastal Emu is an endangered population under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and as such deserves serious conservation attention.  Instead the Roads and Maritime Services are planning to run the Pacific Highway upgrade directly through the habitat of the Coastal Emu.  There is an alternative route available.   I would be happy to show you the old growth forests, wetlands, riparian areas and Emu habitat that will be affected by the preferred route of the Highway upgrade.  An additional 80 threatened species of flora and fauna will be impacted by the construction.  The alternative route will have minimal ecological impact.