Number of unconventional gas publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals on the increase.

At least 685 papers relevant to unconventional gas impacts have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  At the end of 2015, over 80% of the peer reviewed scientific literature on shale and tight gas development has been published since January 1, 2013 and over 60% since January 1, 2014.

At least 226 have been published in 2015 alone.

Dr Jake Hays and Seth Shonkoff say  “This suggests an emerging understanding of the environmental and public health implications of UNGD in the scientific community”.

Figure 1 shows the number of publications that assess the impacts of unconventional gas development per year, 2009 – 2015. The number has continually risen.

number of papers written

Citation: Hays J, Shonkoff SBC (2016) Toward an Understanding of the Environmental and Public Health impacts of unconventional natural gas development : A categorical assessment of the Peer-reviewed Scientific Literature, 2009 – 2015. PLOS ONE 11(4): e0154164. doi: 10.1371/journal pone. 0154164

Clean up old mine sites 15,000 in Qld

JOHN McCARTHY, The Sunday Mail (Qld)

June 12, 2016 12:00am

A NEW growth industry in the state could be cleaning up the mess left from a once booming industry now in decline.

Activist and Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton said thousands of jobs could be created in rehabilitating more than 400 abandoned mines in Queensland that could pose an environmental threat.

The problem is getting someone to pay for it.

In 2012, the Queensland Commission of Audit estimated that a clean-up of Queensland’s 15,000 abandoned mines would cost $1 billion. About 12,000 of these mines are on private land.

The issue gained ­attention when Linc Energy collapsed leaving a clean-up headache for its underground coal gasification site near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs.

Mr Hutton said he had public support with a poll from Lock the Gate and the Australia Institute showing the community was strongly behind the push for companies to clean up mines, many now vast pits of saline water.

The poll found more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of 437 respondents said that mine sites should be fully rehabilitated “close to previous natural or farming condition’’. Another 11 per cent said partial rehabilitation was preferable, with “pits partially refilled and water pollution minimised’’.

The Australia Institute’s Rod Campbell said most Australians don’t want miners to leave behind holes full of toxic water, yet this was government policy in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

“People don’t think it’s fair that companies dig up profits for overseas shareholders during the good times, then leave the community to clean up after them,’’ Mr Campbell said.

“State governments approved these mines and took on the responsibility to regulate them. In the post-mining boom, they need to ensure that the companies which profited are made to clean-up.’’

Mr Hutton said he visited the abandoned Mary Kathleen uranium mine, near Mount Isa, where tailings dams are leaking more than 30 years after the mine closed.

“There is radioactive waste but there is also heavy metals and salt. You can go to the nearby Cameron River and it’s disgusting. Cattle will not go anywhere near it and it got a prize for rehabilitation in 1986,’’ he said.

About 15,000 mines have been abandoned in Queensland and Mr Hutton said between 400 and 500 were a concern. “It would be a massive job creator but it depends on money and, at the moment, only $6 million has been allocated to the clean-up and most of that goes to Mt Morgan.’’

Muswellbrook Coal Mine

Muswellbrook Coal Mine


Doctors for Environment call for a National Approach

Doctors for the Environment Australia has presented their submission to the Senate Select Committee on Unconventional Gas and is calling for a moratorium on all new unconventional gas operations until health risk assessments of procedures and chemicals performed on an industry wide basis have been undertaken.  DEA Submission available here.

“DEA is of the view that a national approach is essential to reduce the extensive risks associated with unconventional gas mining. The most (self-) evident reason for this is that sets of unconventional gas operations may take place in regions overlying, and therefore threatening, precious aquifers, aquifers that do not recognise state borders. DEA asks the Committee to be aware that medical and health research literature on unconventional gas is rapidly expanding. Much published research comes from the United States where an estimated 15 million people live within 1.6km of gas or oil wells.”

For more information go to DEA website here




Oil spill modelling for Great Australian Bight now released.

Independent oil spill modelling from the Great Australian Bight Alliance

If a blowout and spill were to occur in summer, aside from the direct and severe impact in near water, the oil would very likely impact the shores of Western Australia. Simulations show oil contamination could reach as far as Albany and Denmark. Under these conditions, the model predicts that within four months, an area of roughly 213,000km2 would have an 80% chance of having surface oil thickness above levels likely to trigger the closure of fisheries.


If a blowout and spill were to occur in winter, the oil would very likely impact the Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, and Spencer Gulf in South Australia, with simulations showing oil could impact much of the Victorian and Tasmanian coastline, right through the Bass Straight towards New Zealand. Under these conditions, the model predicts that within four months, an area of roughly 265,000km2 would have an 80% chance of having surface oil thickness above levels likely to trigger the closure of fisheries.


Thirty eight Limestone Coast communities road surveyed

Congratulations to all those communities who have participated in this community-driven survey.  This is a great example of grass-roots democracy.

38 Limestone Coast communities road surveyed now!

An average of 95% of people in these communities have said YES to being Industrial Gasfield and Invasive Mining Free communities.

Declaring communities Gasfield Free is just the beginning. The reality is, we still have a number of obstacles to overcome.  Many of the politicians seem determined to expand unconventional gasfields here. Our verdant, productive region is in danger. The only option we have now is to grow a strong citizens’ grass roots campaign to put pressure on decision makers.

The key to building a social movement is staying connected. We hope you will choose to stay on our email list to receive occasional campaign updates.

The other thing that is helpful is if people join together in small Action Groups to do creative campaign activities. This kind of collaboration can be very rewarding. We don’t have to be experts in anything….just committed people who love our region. If you would like to survey your community or find out how to connect with others to protect our region from gasfields, please give Sue a call on 0408 820 797 or email


Limestone Coast Video and Petition available!!

Special thanks to all the participants who helped make these three films possible.

The first short two minute film titled : “Why I’m locking my gate” has been released on the LCPA website

A Petition to the Premier of SA has also been released on community run – please sign here


Alice Springs Suburb Survey Results – 89% Vote Gasfield Free

89% call for no shale gas fracking in Central Australia – community results are in!

The results of a neighbour-to-neighbour community survey of Old Eastside in Alice Springs were launched on Sunday afternoon, revealing residents’ views on controversial shale gasfield fracking in Central Australia.

The survey has been three months in the making and has involved volunteers door-knocking over 500 households in the suburb of Old-Eastside to survey residents about their views on the use of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas or ‘fracking’ in Central Australia.

The suburb of Old Eastside is the newest edition to the redistributed boundaries Chief Minister Adam Giles’ electorate of Braitling.

603 people participated in the community survey with a significant majority of 89% (538 people) indicating they want to see Central Australia shale gasfield free.

Only 2.8% (or 17 people) supported the development of shale gasfields in Central Australia. The remainder of the survey participants were unsure.

The ‘gasfield free’ community surveying approach is a unique community-driven democratic process that enables local people to survey their own communities in a systematic way about their views on fracking.

Old EastsideNT

“The Old Eastside survey is an important litmus test of broader community views on shale gas fracking and the opinions of people in Alice Springs and in Chief Minister Adam Giles’ electorate”, said Barb Molanus who is one of the many local volunteers involved in the process.

“I am not surprised at all that we got the excellent result that we did – so many people I talk to everyday say they are really concerned about shale gas fracking”, said Molanus.

The approach has met with great success in other parts of Australia where now 390 local communities have declared themselves gasfield free. Now in the NT there are 5 gasfield free communities – Adelaide River, Batchelor, Lake Bennett, Mataranka and now Old Eastside.

“Our goal is to encourage other community members across all parts of Alice Springs to get involved and find out their neighbours views on shale gas fracking in Central Australia. We can all have a strong voice as part of our community, one suburb at a time!” said Marli Banks who is also involved in coordinating the event.


Linc Energy Former CEO issued with Environmental Protection Order

May 26th

The Courier Mail reports….

Fantastic News ….lets hope this is the first of many actions to rehabilitate the damage done by Linc Energy and underground coal gasification.

Linc Energy: Former chief executive Peter Bond issued with Environmental Protection Order

The Courier-Mail

AN Environmental Protection Order has been issued to former Linc Energy chief executive Peter Bond under Queensland’s new Chain of Responsibility laws.

The environment department issued the order Wednesday night.

This EPO requires Mr Bond to take steps to decommission most of the site’s dams and take steps in relation to the rehabilitation of contaminated soils that remain on site, a statement from Environment Minister Steven Miles reads.

Linc Energy’s dams have been a source of odour to the surrounding community.

The EPO also requires the provision of a bank guarantee to secure compliance with it. Review and appeal rights are available under the law.

This EPO is in addition to an EPO the Department issued to Linc Energy on 13 May 2016, which remains in effect even though Linc Energy is in liquidation.

It is in addition to the prosecution that is already underway.

Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said it was the first time the new powers had been used.

“The stronger environmental laws give Queensland’s environment regulator additional powers to ensure the former Linc Energy site is rehabilitated,’’ Dr Miles said.

“Decommissioning the dams is a crucial part of the long-term strategy regarding odour sources, and is a necessary rehabilitation step,” he said.

Linc Energy 2011

Linc Energy 2011

WA to reduce state fossil fuel use for power.

WA to reduce state fossil fuel generation 

By Giles Parkinson on 8 April 2016, excerpts

The conservative West Australian state government has taken the lead over the rest of the country and instructed its state-owned utility to shut down 380MW of fossil fuel capacity in the next two years. It seems certain that much of this will be ageing coal-fired generation.

The Treasurer, Mark Nahan, a former head of the arch-conservative Institute of Public Affairs, praised the role of rooftop solar and the likely benefits of battery storage in helping deliver the reforms announced on Thursday, following a two-year review of the state’s energy markets.

The first decision will be to require Synergy, the state-owned generator and retailer, to shut 380MW of excess capacity

The second decision is to slash the return on so-called demand-side management. DSM, as it is known, offers returns to users who agree to turn down demand when supply is short. It is mostly considered a good thing, but the way it was structured in WA meant that $430 million had been handed out to providers, even though their services has been used for a total of just 106 hours on eight occasions – including testing – in the past decade.

The third decision is to gradually ramp down the scale of “capacity payments”, which saw a fleet of gas-fired or diesel-fired peaking power plants built, but rarely if ever used. Instead they received payments merely for being on standby, and in WA those payments were around $120,000 for each MW of capacity per year.

Nahan said that his measures and the removal of excess capacity would save around $130 million a year over the next seven years.

Nahan, who in his time at the IPA was an avowed skeptic of climate science and renewable energy, was full of praise for the role that solar has taken in “completely revolutionising” the WA energy industry.

On this remarkable web page, “More power to you”, Nahan tells the story of how WA’s energy woes began with uncontrolled blackouts in WA (the fault of a dodgy grid and unreliable gas), and how market “reforms” led to an unsustainable energy market.

Nahan says solar has given the government the tools to repair it

ACT 100% Renewable by 2020

RenewEconomy, May 2, 2016, excerpts

In May, the ACT environment minister Simon Corbell stood up at the Local Energy and Micro-Grids conference in Sydney to announce that the ACT was going to accelerate its push to renewable energy, and would supply 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020, almost all of it from wind and solar.

The contrast between the ACT government policies with what is happening on the federal political landscape, could not be any more stark, or any more depressing.

In the same week that the Coalition had trumpeted a $50 billion spend on French submarines as “economy building,” it attacked Labor’s $48 billion spend on renewables as jobs-destroying. Defence jobs good, green jobs bad.

So, how did we get to this, and how to get out of it? The Coalition appears to have forgotten that it was the Party that signed the Paris agreement that aims to limit warming to between 1.5°C and 2.0°C.

Corbell: “We are looking at an energy future that is going to be supplied by wind and solar and battery storage, with 100,000 Canberra homes supported to improve energy efficiency and reduce their demand. “These sound like big targets, but all of them – all of them – have been achieved using the existing policy measures and state and federal powers.

“We are demonstrating through these policies that not only is a transition to a renewable energy future achievable, it is affordable and it is creating jobs. The incumbents will try to protect their position, it is up to governments to push through.”