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Community group Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas Mining should be proud for organizing today’s No Coal Seam Gas Drilling in Sydney Rally, which was an resounding success. By 11.20am Camperdown Memorial Park was filled with people sitting or standing in whatever shade they could find.
Acapella group ‘Ecopella’ sang a few green-themed songs to get the crowd in the mood. Then there were speeches from Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, Isabelle MacIntosh from Lock the Gate & Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra. Some of the issues they mentioned were –
- the environmental & health impact of coal seam gas mining happening already in mine sites in Australia.
- how coal seam gas mining uses millions of litres of water for mining.
- the failure of the previous NSW government to notify the community before thousands of coal seam gas drilling licenses were granted.
Once the police had cleared King Street of traffic, the crowd of thousands gathered & started their 2.4km march down King Street. Police told me they estimated the crowd at 5,000 or more. Once the marchers reached the Princes Highway they turned into Banwon Park Road & then Campbell Street to the back of Dial a Dump, which is where Dart Energy has a license to do exploratory drilling for coal seam gas. After chanting here the crowd moved on to the Southern end of Sydney Park next to the duck pond.
This area of Sydney Park has been the site of 2 previous community demonstrations against coal seam gas mining at the Dial a Dump site & in the Sydney area. Today this area of Sydney Park was jam-packed with people who listened to speeches from Lock the Gate & others. 3 local bands played music.
Coal seam gas mining is happening in 40,000 sites in Queensland & the Queensland government website says, “Further growth is expected for this industry with coal seam gas to serve as the feedstock for an export liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry based mainly at Gladstone in central Queensland.” http://mines.industry.qld.gov.au/mining/queensland-mining-update.htm
Coal seam gas mining is not as established in NSW, though new mines seems to be springing up every week. Coal seam gas mining is already happening in outer suburbs of Sydney, in the National Parks of the Illawarra & in the Hunter Region near Newcastle. It is also happening in Northern NSW & sure to spread to other areas in NSW. The mining sites are mostly in National Parks or on farming land. The risk to our water & food bowl is very real.
Community groups are banding with other community groups all over the state to help each other fight the gas companies & stop coal seam gas mining in their locality. I suspect it will be a long battle because the both the federal & state governments want the money from overseas companies who have come to mine Australia’s coal seam gas. The bulk of the gas will be transported overseas & many fear they will leave a poisoned country behind.
I made a short video capturing much of the event & will post other videos of the rally later. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE9dGXw4wRA
You can learn about coal seam gas mining & become involved here -