via MCWAG – All’s well that ends CSG wells

Hi all,

For years, local communities in Northern NSW have been fighting AGL to protect the rivers and farmland of Gloucester from coal seam gas mining. This could be our chance to stop fracking in Gloucester forever.

When AGL’s new CEO Andrew Vesey started in February this year, GetUp members and our allies at Lock the Gate, Groundswell Gloucester, and Land Water Future were ready with a welcome message. Together, we greeted Mr Vesey with a 20,000 strong petition asking him to shut down AGL’s coal seam gas operations in Gloucester.

A few days later Vesey announced a comprehensive review into all of AGL’s CSG mining. A sign that he was was feeling the pressure from communities concerned about the unacceptable threat that coal seam gas mining poses to our prime agricultural land and our water.

This week, AGL announced they will extend the period to decide the fate of the project.1 Which means we now have six months to convince Mr Vesey to protect Gloucester from the dangers of CSG once and for all.

Can you sign the petition telling AGL to shut down coal seam gas in Gloucester?

AGL’s Gloucester project has been a disaster right from the start. AGL have dumped tainted coal seam gas water from Gloucester into Newcastle’s water network despite being denied permission from Hunter Water.2 Large fluctuations in groundwater levels have been detected near their wells.3 They even had their licence temporarily suspended after hazardous BTEX chemicals were detected in two wells.4

But, despite all this, the NSW Government has given AGL the all clear to continue operations, and this week AGL announced they’ll be restarting the pilot wells in Gloucester. This means they’ll spend the next six months drilling in these four accident-prone wells to determine whether to open up a field of one hundred and ten wells.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for Gloucester or the future of CSG mining in NSW. One leading analyst at Citi has already said, “It’s not worth risking AGL’s brand for a Gloucester development.”5 Simply put, the project is on the ropes. Right now, Mr Vesey is frantically trying to work out whether the strength of our opposition is strong enough to abandon the project.

Can you add your voice to demonstrate just how unpopular these wells are?

Over 30,000 GetUp members have already called on Mr Vesey to shut AGL’s Gloucester project down, including 9091 AGL customers, 772 shareholders and 165 AGL employees.

That’s right – even people who receive a paycheck from AGL appreciate that the company’s desire for profit shouldn’t come before the protection of land and water that’s crucial for the future food security of all Australians.

We know it won’t be an easy fight – the coal seam gas industry has done an excellent job of staffing their industry with well-connected policy-makers. Earlier this week a Sydney Morning Herald investigation revealed the disturbing number of former politicians from Labor, Liberal and National parties who now work on behalf of the big coal seam gas companies.6

It’s time to let AGL and the NSW government know we want them to shut down CSG.

Help the community fight back against this imbalance of power, sign the petition now.

Thanks for all that you do,
Adam and Sam R, for the GetUp team

P.S. Once you sign the petition, you can take the next step by switching your energy provider away from AGL to our partner, Powershop. 11,000 GetUp members have already switched, and Credit Suisse has found that if 30,000 people switch their power away from AGL, it would cost the company $100 million.7 Taking your custom away from AGL helps to drive home the message that as long as they continue their CSG activities in NSW, not only will they lose the PR battle, but also their profits and customers too. Sign the petition and then learn more about switching here:

[1] AGL releases ‘roadmap’ to energy sustainability, ABC, 26 May 2015.
[2] EPA investigation into discharge of treated flow back water into Hunter Water sewer network, Hunter Water media release, 22 January 2015.
[3] Shifting ground water levels add to AGL’s CSG doubts, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 2015.
[4] AGL faces delays, additional conditions after BTEX chemicals detected, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2015.
[5] Upstream gas restructure, a material prize worth chasing, Citiresearch, 18 February 2015.
[6] Industry snaps up staff with top connections, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2015.
[7] Credit Suisse analysis, July 2014; Credit Suisse Research and Analytics, AGL Energy – I can see clearly now, 19 March 2015; Citi Research, 18 February 2015.

GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you’d like to contribute to help fund GetUp’s work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and future – and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.

Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

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Mid Coast Water talk 28th May at 6.30pm

Hello Everyone

Just a reminder about our forthcoming meeting next  Thursday 28th May starting at 6.30pm at the Uniting Church Auditorium in Albert Street, Taree.   

Mr Brendan Guiney, Acting General Manager of Mid Coast Water, will speak to our group  about the organisation’s Our Water Our Future project.  This is an open meeting, so the general public is welcome to attend.  The Mayor and Councillors of Greater Taree have been invited to join us.


Mid Coast Water is reviewing their long term strategy for water resources in our region and they want the community to join the conversation about water.  They want to know what it means to us all, and what we think are the important issues for the future.


The talk will include a powerpoint presentation and there will be an opportunity for questions afterwards.


Please come along and bring your friends and family too.   Our water is important to all of us.


Kind regards

Christine Stanton

Secretary, MCWAG Inc.

EPA’s investigation results, Waukivory

 Hello Everyone
Link below to the EPA’s media release which came out today (Tuesday 19th) regarding their investigations into the BTEX detected at Waukivory.  Please note that it’s taken them approximately 3 months to do these investigations.  I wrote to the company secretary of AGL last night (Monday) to ask if they had received the EPA’s report.  They probably had! 
More to come on this, I think….

Kind regards
Christine Stanton

Can you drop Minister Roberts a line about this?




Can you drop Minister Roberts a line about this?

Dear supporter,

The latest blunder in the fiasco with the CSG field at Gloucester is that AGL now proposes to store its toxic flowback “water” in an open dam on one of its properties south of Gloucester.

This is because AGL has not yet found any company willing to take this toxic water.

AGL originally sent it to TransPacific in Newcastle until stopped by Hunter Water which did not want it ending up in the sewers of Newcastle. Then AGL sent it to Worth Recycling in the Hawkesbury region but after a short time that company refused to take any more after BTEX was discovered in the flowback water.

Now AGL wants to store this stuff in an open dam in a paddock just to the south of Gloucester. We think this is outrageous and if you do too, we ask you to let the NSW State Government know.

Will you take a few minutes to send an email or a letter to our Minister for Energy and Resources, Anthony Roberts, telling him you object to AGL’s proposal to store the water in an open dam? We’ve prepared a few points you might like to put in your email – these are listed below.

We’ve only got a short time to email or write – the end of this week. Can you send an email before 5pm on Friday 15th May? You can post a letter or send an email, or both!

Use as many of our dot points listed below as you would like; or write your own email, but it’s best to keep it short and simple.

Here are some points that you might wish to use as part of your comments.

• AGL plan to store flowback water in its eastern dam at Teidmans for a minimum of 8 months and possibly for up to 2 years or longer. The approval for AGL to store any water at Teidmans expired on 30 April, 2015, meaning that AGL has already breached their licence/approval.

• flowback water includes toxic chemicals used in fracking and naturally occurring in coal seams including BTEX and heavy metals.

• AGL have always said that flowback water will be disposed of off-site by tankering the water to a licensed disposal company.

• for the Waukivory Pilot Project, AGL and the Government agreed that the waste would be stored in enclosed steel tanks before the tankers collected it and immediately taken off-site.

• because AGL and their contractor were caught unlawfully disposing of the treated waste in Hunter Water’s sewers and can’t find anybody else who will take the waste, AGL want to take the easy way out and store it in an earth dam on the Teidmans property and sort out the final disposal later.

• AGL are in this situation because of their own incompetence and dishonesty.

• The Office of Coal Seam Gas and other Government agencies are also culpable because they never ensured that AGL had a lawful, safe and environmentally acceptable means of disposing of the flowback water.

• It is totally unacceptable that AGL now wants to store this water for what may be a very lengthy period in an open dam at Gloucester and still don’t know how they will finally dispose of their waste products.

• It is also unacceptable for the Government to even consider bending over backwards again to let AGL get away with this high risk proposal.

• AGL say that the dam has far more capacity than needed and won’t overflow. We have experienced severe storms recently that nobody expected and a similar storm at Teidmans could affect the safety of the earth walls of all three earth dams at Teidmans. The seepage monitoring for these dams is also very inadequate. There has been no engineering detail provided as to the integrity of the dams.

• AGL still don’t really know how much flowback water will be pumped out, nor have they said what will be done with the large quantity of produced water from flow testing that also needs to be disposed of.

• The Government still has not produced any standards as to when flowback water becomes produced water due to dilution with coal seam and aquifer water. This means that the final quantity of both flowback and produced water that needs to be stored and disposed of is completely unknown.

• leaving the flowback water in the earth dam until either the Stage 1 water treatment plant is operating or a complex ‘mobile containerised treatment unit’ can be designed by experts (if it can) and fabricated in unacceptable.

• AGL needs to get approval for its highly inadequate and flawed ‘Extracted Water Management Strategy’ before any decisions can be made.

• no movement of any water at the Waukivory Pilot Project should occur until there is a very clear pathway for the treatment and disposal of flowback and produced water and all their waste products. Until AGL have a proper place to take this toxic water AGL should be required to cap the 4 wells at Waukivory.

• No information has been provided by AGL about any impacts of the water upon bird, animal or aquatic life.

• No information has been provided about impacts on human health.

• AGLs licence requires them to dispose of this water at an approved facility. This is not disposing of the water. It is just storing it and thus AGL would be breaching their licence.

Send your letter to Minister Roberts:

Email: use the contact form at this address

or email

The Hon Anthony Roberts,
Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001

Can you also find a few extra minutes to send an email to the Office of Coal Seam Gas and the Director of Compliance and Enforcement?

The Office of Coal Seam Gas

PO Box 344 Hunter Regional Mail Centre
NSW 2310

Ms Lee Shearer,
Director Compliance and Enforcement,

Division of Resources and Energy,
PO Box 344 Hunter Regional Mail Centre,
NSW 2310

Thanks so much for being part of the fight against this toxic industry. Thanks for all that you do.

Groundswell Gloucester team

Join us this Saturday 9th May – Gloucester Walk & Workshop



Join us this Saturday 9th May – Gloucester Walk & Workshop

Time for our next town Walk this Saturday followed by our Gasfield Free Mid North Coast Workshop. You are invited to attend both. See below for more information about the Workshop.


Gasfield Free Workshop

Following the town Walk there will be a Gasfield Free Mid North Coast (GFMNC) working group catch up. Anyone who has been involved in the campaign to stop Coal Seam Gas (or would like to get involved) is invited to the GFMNC, especially participants from the walk.

The session will be held at the Anglican Church hall, 66 Hume Street, from 11.30am – 1.30pm. Please bring your own lunch or something to share if you can and lots of ideas to contribute and develop for our future.

This gathering follows on from a very successful initial meeting and following catch up in Taree. The program will begin with a round table introduction to get to know each other and share information about who has done what and how to collaborate on ideas for future activities.

Gasfield Free Mid North Coast is working to establish action (Seed) Groups in communities throughout the Mid North Coast to form working relationships, share ideas and initiate actions as we strive for a CSG free future.

Lunch break will be followed by workshops such as:

▪ What is the Gasfield Free process and how can you get involved
▪ Establishing a seed group in your area, how to hold a film night
▪ Planning for and conducting a Community survey in your patch
▪ Mapping the assets in your community
▪ Plus others…

Groundswell Gloucester Team