Govt bungles aquifer interference policy on Santos’ giant coal seam gas project

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today expressed his dismay that the government’s centrepiece policy to protect groundwater, the Aquifer Interference policy, will not apply to the assessment of Santos’ 850 gas well project, despite admissions from Santos that there are risks to aquifers, a record of contamination incidents and the fact that it sits above a Great Artesian Basin recharge area.

Greens will call for papers on Santos MOU and aquifer contamination incident

Jeremy Buckingham Greens mining agriculture spokesperson will introduce a call for papers into parliament under Standing Order 52 seeking all information regarding the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Government and Santos and the EPA's handling of the revelations that Santos contaminated an aquifer in the Pilliga with uranium and other heavy metals.
 
"The Greens want to know why it took a year for this information about the aquifer contamination to become public.  Why the fine was so paltry?  Why the media were not properly alerted by the EPA?," asked Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Ground water contaminated with uranium 20x limit & other poisonous elements - game over for coal seam gas

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW government to halt all coal seam gas projects after the NSW Environmental Protection Authority found that gas company Santos had seriously contaminated ground water with toxic elements such uranium, arsenic, lead, and boron at its coal seam gas Bibblewindi water treatment plant near Narrabri.  Uranium has been detected in the aquifer at 335 micrograms per litre, which is 20 times safe drinking water levels.

"This is game over for coal seam gas.  Here is definitive proof that unconventional gas, such as coal seam gas pollutes aquifers with extremely toxic elements," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"It is totally unacceptable for ground water to be contaminated with radioactive uranium 20 times the safe drinking water limit.   Poisonous elements such as arsenic, lead and boron have also been mobilised and concentrated by coal seam gas extraction and then leaked into the aquifers.

"The gas industry often states there are no 'proven' cases of gas extraction leading to aquifer contamination.  Well here is the proof.

"The Greens call for the Santos Narrabri project and other coal seam gas projects in NSW to be halted immediately.  Other aquifers cannot be put at risk of serious pollution.  This type of contamination represents a serious health risk to humans and animals.

Greens introduce bill to prevent mining in the Central Coast catchment

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today introduced legislation into the NSW Legislative Council to stop mining and exploration in the Central Coast drinking water catchment saying it will test Premier Barry O'Farrell's credibility.

The Central Coast Drinking Water Catchments Protection (No ifs, no buts, a guarantee) Bill 2014 prohibits mining and exploration activities in the seven drinking water catchments of the Central Coast - the Mangrove Creek Dam, Mardi Dam, Ourimbah Creek, Wyong River, Porters Creek, Mangrove Creek Weir and Mooney Mooney Dam catchment areas.

New figures show logging native forests costs taxpayers and the environment dearly

The first figures released by the newly corporatized Forestry Corporation show the native forestry industry in crisis with thousands of extra hectares of forest being logged, for dwindling returns and the inevitable chronic losses being made up by NSW taxpayers. Destroying public native forests for woodchips and timber has a net negative cost to taxpayers of $480 per hectare.

See report in the SMH here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/logging-increases-but-revenue-drops-20140125-31fex.html

The amount of native forest that was logged by Forestry NSW increased by 36% between 2011/12 and 2012/13. Despite this additional 8,300 hectares of native forest being lost, the amount of commercial timber recovered fell, showing ever diminishing returns from a stressed public forest reserve.

The more aggressive harvesting regime also impacted on threatened species with the number of threatened fauna species sighted in logging operations increasing from 3,018 in 2012/13 to 4,277 in 2012/13. The greater impact on threatened species is inevitable as more and more of our forests are targeted for logging.

Coalition’s water trading plan for Murray Darling Basin is not a solution

The Abbott government plan to support the sale of millions of litres of Murray Darling Basin water puts the future of river communities, their economic viability and the environmental health of the region at risk, Senator Lee Rhiannon the Greens water spokesperson said today.

“The Coalition plan to move into water trading is not the solution to environmental restoration of the Murray-Darling.

“This is a massive blow to rural Australia as a few irrigators will benefit to the detriment of river communities, the majority of farmers and the environment,” Senator Rhiannon said.

Real growth not GDP

By Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens

How do we build an economic system that serves the needs of people and nature, both for today and for tomorrow?

The economy is a tool; a tool we humans invented – like democracy and politics – to help govern our relationships between each other, and between ourselves and the world we live in. If our economic tools are not getting the outcomes we want, making us happy, safe, healthy, better educated and fulfilled and protecting and preparing our country for an increasingly uncertain future in a world on track to be 4 degrees warmer, then it is time our economic tools changed.

Sydney drenching highlights desal folly

A continuation of the current weather patterns could see Sydney's dams
overflowing by mid May and households paying for $82 million for water from
the desalination plant that runs out to sea, according to Greens NSW MP
John Kaye.

('Desalination test may waste millions,' Sun Herald, 19 February 2012, page
5, http://j.mp/sh120219)

Robyn Parker must explain toxic fib

Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called upon Environment Minister Robyn Parker to explain why she told ABC Television 7.30 program that testing on potentially poisoned fish had been conducted, when the Department of Primary Industries said no such testing has taken place.

The 7.30 NSW program investigated mass fish kills in the Macleay River in northern NSW after a series of toxic spills from the Hillgrove
Antimony mine near Armidale.

“Has Minister Parker mislead the public when she said tests on the fish had been done and these tests showed no link to the toxic pollution incidents,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham

“Robyn Parker must explain the inconsistency between  what she told ABC TV and the statement from the Department of Primary Industry that no tests had been conducted.

Oil spill threat to Lord Howe Island

Commenting on the grounding of a supply ship carrying marine diesel fuel at the world heritage listed Lord Howe Island, Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said she has written to the federal environment minister and would take the issue up in the current parliamentary estimate hearings ('Supply ship grounding 'an accident waiting to happen', SMH page 3 today http://tiny.cc/s7dli)
"The operation of the MV Island Trader to Lord Howe Island has been an accident waiting to happen," Senator Rhiannon said.