Wednesday, 28 July 2010

GAS RUSH : ENERGY : WATER - Across the world



Circle of BlueWEEKLY WATER NEWS
JULY 27, 2010
Reign of Sand
Michigan’s New Natural Gas Rush: Energy and Water in Play
A Leasing Frenzy read more...
Dear Miss Eagle,

America's deep shale seams, one of which runs through northern Michigan, contains enough natural gas to fuel the country for a century. That's awakened the fossil fuel industry, which spent a record $178 million in May leasing state-owned mineral rights. But drilling and production practices that involve millions of gallons of water and thousands of pounds of chemicals have generated considerable public concern. This week Circle of Blue takes its first look, and certainly not its last, at the promise and potential peril of producing natural gas from Michigan's Collingwood Shale.
Meanwhile, China grapples with its new position as the worlds largest energy-consumer and faces its biggest oil spill.
In Africa, the PlayPump, a water-storing device fueled by the merry-go-round energy from kids that defies the laws of thermodynamics--has fallen out of favor with the international aid community, including with UNICEF.
Looking more at long-term sustainability in foreign policy, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announcedPakistan water programs last week.
As Asian carp continue to be a potential threat to the Great Lakes, Midwestern state officials filed suit in a U.S. District Court to force the government to take more drastic steps to block the invasive aquatic species. And Sitka, Alaska faces a few hiccups that could hinder its bulk water export ambitions.

Well, dear Networkers, what can I say.  It is clear that Australia (in particular New South Wales and Queensland) is not the only place in the world suffering from the Coal Seam Gas phenomenon.

Recent events in Queensland regarding Cougar Energy led a friend to write suggesting a moratorium until the science was settled on this subject.  I wrote back as follows:

Anything that would stop this would need a REAL campaign.  I don't believe a moratorium until the science is right is the way to go.  That argument could be knocked over in five minutes flat. One only needs to argue that science is never settled.

There is another way - and it uses a phrase I only came across recently on Lateline. I might have been thick - but the big boys know about it.  It is the phrase "social licence".

Here is the link to the transcript of Geoffrey Cousins on Lateline.  The social licence is what is behind what Geoffrey Cousins did in sorting out Gunns at Boardroom level.  

Social licence means that, whatever the big boys might want to do from the ivory towers of their boardrooms, it can be very difficult when the people around you don't give their permission or their affirmative consensus in what you wish to do.

Fast forward then to Background Briefing's program 'Gas Rush'.  Here is the link to the transcript and audio.  Towards the end of the program, one of the more senior folk in the CSG industry mentions the social licence.  He says, more or less,  that those who have taken the trouble to consult with people have not had any bother.  The bother comes from those who rush in.

I believe that on so many environmental fronts this phrase has to become embedded in our society.  It can only do this by pressure from widespread communities and campaigns.

The social licence for the current CSG push or gas rush is dubious.    The effects in so many ways are massive - not only for the environment but for communities and how they live.  It is not drawing too long a bow to suggest that Australia's own food security is under threat.  Yet do these resource buccaneers have the social licence of the communities they enter, the states they operate in, or of the people of this nation?

So,, I am all in favour of a campaign - but a serious one that can get runs on the board.  May be Geoffrey Cousins has to be consulted since he has done what seemed impossible to so many - but he has certainly pulled Gunn's teeth and their share price has improved to demonstrate the benefit. 

So let's set up a campaign that says that, with all the govt permissions and licences you receive, there is one more.  The social licence of the community.  If you want it, you prove yourselves worthy of it.  Oh, and BTW, if you think your company is doing the right thing - the social licence to you have may be withdrawn along with those clearly doing the wrong thing.  And just as government licences frequently carry some conditions - any social licence the community might give you may carry some conditions as well.

In addition, I would like to draw your attention to the Bimblebox campaign against the coal companies.  Please see the relevant post here.  At the end of the visible part of the post you will see a link saying 'Read more'.  Please click on this and you will find a petition which you can copy, paste, print and sign.

I also attach for you a coal map of Queensland.  What is happening across Queensland is of significant environmental interest.  I don't want to take up any more time because you could go to most places on this map and find a concerning story - and inevitably it would link in some way to impact on water.  If anyone wants to know more, please ask.  But I think I have given you enough to get going.  But if you want to some clues - look at Gladstone and Bowen, both Great Barrier Reef towns.


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