Ten days ago I flew over the coal seam gasfields in south-western Qld. I expected it to be bad, but the full scale of the industry shocked me.
From horizon to horizon, and as far as the eye could see, there were coal seam gas wells, roads, pipelines, power lines, waste water holding ponds and gas compressor stations.
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Here’s one of the new photos that I took on the flight. To see so many of our rural areas being transformed into full industrial zones was nothing short of devastating.
Is it any wonder that communities all around the country are looking at this industry and choosing to declare themselves Gasfield Free?
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Just last week Adelaide River became the first community in the Northern Territory to go Gasfield Free, and the previous week, Irwin became the sixth community in Western Australia.
That takes the tally of communities who have banded together and stood up against this dangerous industry to a total of 354 nation-wide.
From South Australia, to Queensland, Victoria and back to NSW, that’s over 354 communities where locals have knocked on every door and residents have voted resoundingly to protect land and water.
But local communities can’t do it alone, and it is only possible with your generous support.
The starkest warning about what lies ahead if we don’t act comes from the US, where there are now more than 1 million active coal and gas wells. That’s right, a staggering 1 million wells.
A recent article summarised the appalling facts about air pollution caused by fracking in the small rural township of Vernal, Utah.
It described dangerous smog that usually only occurs in the largest, most polluted cities: ‘Ozone readings that rivaled the worst days of summer in New York, Los Angeles or Salt Lake City; particulate matter as bad as Mexico City; and ground air fraught with carcinogenic gases like benzene’...
And the big take home message – ‘the impacts of this pollution are regional, not just local‘. So, the emerging health impacts are affecting people who are miles from fracking sites.
The range of health impacts being reported from gas drilling in the US is still growing. Particularly disturbing is new research showing that mothers living near fracking sites are more likely to have underweight babies than those who live further away.
But it is early days for gas drilling in Australia, and your actions can prevent it from becoming a runaway juggernaut like it has in the US. You are an integral part of an extraordinary movement that is spreading across the country.
By becoming a regular monthly donor, you are backing local communities, spreading the word, and exposing the risks of this unsafe industry.
You are the only force that can prevent the dangerous industrialisation of our most precious landscapes.
Thanks for everything you do,