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.
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.
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.
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: www.getup.org.au/nofracking
 AGL releases ‘roadmap’ to energy sustainability, ABC, 26 May 2015.
 EPA investigation into discharge of treated flow back water into Hunter Water sewer network, Hunter Water media release, 22 January 2015.
 Shifting ground water levels add to AGL’s CSG doubts, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 2015.
 AGL faces delays, additional conditions after BTEX chemicals detected, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2015.
 Upstream gas restructure, a material prize worth chasing, Citiresearch, 18 February 2015.
 Industry snaps up staff with top connections, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2015.
 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.
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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.