This article was written and contributed by Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic
Drilling rig trucks crushed Akubra hats into the dirt on January 21 2012 as Arrow Energy sought to end a 10 day standoff with angry farmers and landholders in the Scenic Rim.
The protest was a last resort for our community which had asked Arrow to stop all drilling until:
- All landowner bores are tested, so if contamination/draw-down does occur, landholders are able to prove their bores have been affected.
- An independent study into aquifers below the Scenic Rim and interconnected water systems – with the study to be undertaken by a mutually-agreed party and the report made public.
- Genuine community consultation – including public meetings where you can hear people who know the issues ask questions you might not have thought of.
None of these requests were met by Arrow and on day 10 of the blockade, emotions poured over as Kerry Valley farmer Rod Anderson addressed a crowd of more than 100 people including local farmers, tourism operators and residents from across the region and neighbouring regions, who had been blockading an Arrow coal seam gas exploration well at Kerry Valley.
Before throwing his hat in front of the departing drill rig in the traditional Australian challenge to a fight, Rod’s message was clear:
"I’ve been standing over by that strainer post for the last bloody 10 days quietly behaving, like all of us locals have. I’ve got a little place up the top there, its only small, might be insignificant to some, but it’s my house and it’s my home. There’s plenty of farmers around here, and no-one’s listening to us, treating us like there’s no one underneath these hats. We’ve had a gut-full.…
The final day of the Kerry Blockade including farmer Rod Anderson’s emotional speech can be viewed on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX8lRlucOWc&feature=youtu.be where it has had more than 8,000 hits.
In breaking news, Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic has confirmed that in 2009 Arrow Energy hydraulically fractured or ‘fracked’ three exploration wells, in a flood and landslip zone, under 100m from the Logan River and just upstream from the Beaudesert town water supply: http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2012/03/fracking-used-in-brisbane-water-catchment-area-.html?site=brisbane&program=612_morning
Fracking less than 60km from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in a common aquifer, means this action and others in the future, has the potential to impact on the catchment for drinking supplies across the shire and through to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Fracking is already banned in some overseas countries - including France and South Africa. Concerns about potential to contaminate water supplies have also led to it being put on hold in New York's water catchment and in New South Wales.
At least one of the fracking chemicals used in the Scenic Rim was not listed on Arrow’s website in a declaration of chemicals the company gave the impression was comprehensive. (website has since been changed to list only "currently used" chemicals).
The same chemical 2-butoxyethanol was confirmed by the US EPA to have contaminated underground water supplies in Pavillion, Wyoming, USA: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=epa-finds-fracking-compound-wyoming-aquifer where fracking has also occurred. (click on underlined blue link to see more)
For our community to conduct effective baseline or control tests of our domestic and agricultural water bores, we need to know what chemicals have been and may be used in by the gas companies. You can only test for the chemicals you have identified.
Keep The Scenic Rim Scenic assembled all the facts into a letter and asked extensive questions of Arrow Energy and the State government. Read to learn more
To get involved in the Scenic Rim’s fight against coal seam gas go to Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic: http://www.keepthescenicrimscenic.com/