H2O before CSG logo
Water Before Coal Seam Gas

The impact of Coal Seam Gas Mining (CSG) in our Sydney Water Catchment,
and State Conservation Land through the Illawarra
diagram of coal seam gas mining & aquifer

Click images  to view larger

The industry and exploration of Coal seam gas mining is relatively new in Australia and so inherits a 'learn on the job' methodology when it comes to accidents, disasters and hurdles.  Let alone the dangers of fracking (fracturing the coal seam with immense pressure water and chemicals)  in a region frought with potential subsidence and risking the purity of the drinking water rivers.

So its of great surprise (or perhaps not) that the  community had been kept in the dark over the plans by Apex Energy, Peabody Pacific's Metropolitan Mine Helensburgh , State Planning and Wollongong City Council, to drill for coal seam gas  in the surrounding State conservation areas and the Sydney Water Catchment .

Natasha Watson uncovered  2006 Apex Energy & Metropolitan Coal plans to build a large gas fired power station adjacent to the Helensburgh Princes Highway Gateway, and letters of Agreement between Apex Energy and Peabody Metropolitan Coal, including one of their objectives in a discussion paper dated August 9, 2010 that though they have a joint agreement for mining and profits, Peabody requests  that their name not be 'publicly' directly linked, for fear of any problems, when drilling for gas over the long wall mining area!

Such was the fear of public concern that Apex, Peabody and the Department of Planning agreed to alter the Part 3A major project application of Apex Energy, until Peaboody Metropolitan Coal  Longwall Mining'  Part 3A was approved and announced by  Kristina Keneally.  So approval for 18 holes was temporarily changed to 15 holes, to be  then amended back to 18 holes after the furore over the long wall mining approval  died down in the media.

NB.  Natural Gas - a 'fossil fuel' gas  consistng primarily of methane formed by organic decomposition , heat and pressure over thousands of years, is trapped in 'pockets'  beneath the earth's  surface all over the world.  
Natural Gas is also produced as byproduct of extracting gasoline/petroleum,  once vented due to the difficulty of trapping, storage and transporting it, its now a viable resource and transported via pipeline and compression to LNG.
As technology has improved along with the demand for cheaper plentiful fuel,  the methane found naturally within coal seams, in particularly those already stimulated by previouos coal mining, has attracted major  OS fue companies as well get-rich-quick cowboys ,due to its relative high return on investment.  Red carpet welcoming by government and light weight legislation has  created a vast and rapidly growing industry  across the country, marking the Australian  landscape like small pox disease.
'Town Gas' the traditional gas  supplied to residents was produced from coal ovens, and as a consequence contained the deadly carbon monoxide.   This domestic fuel has been phased out over the years and replaced with the methane based 'natural gas'

The Mercury: Residensts Not told of Gas Risks - Sept 20,, 2010
Apex Joint Agreements with coal mining companies
What Lies beneath our government and our precious Sydney water catchment of Helensburgh?
Its not just the methane gas that has the potential to ruin our beautiful region.........

The plans for the station plus 18 drill sites including a test methane bore on the land right behind Symbio Wildlife Park, would have come as a great shock to the local community, except perhaps a select few speculator landowners and Wollongong City Council planning.   And as of May this year,  the power station site is now proposed just a bit further down the Princes Highway at Darkes Forest, and the potential drill holes are scattered across the Metropolitan colliery workings,under our Sydney Water Catchment Woronora area,  including nearby to the Garrawarra Aged Care Facility,  Coal Seam Gas bores are planned  all the way down the Illawarra escarpment through the various colliery tenement s including Huntley Heritage, Sada
Approved 15 Apex Bore Holes Illawarra escarpmentPLEASE SAY NO to Apex Energy's application for an additional coal seam gas bore hole in the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment - -click here:

Map - Part  3A  approved September 2009 15 CSG Wells -Illawarra Escarpment
15  CSG - methane  exploration wells between the Illawarra escarpment and Dharwal State Conservation Land Sydney Catchment Authority Land (drinking water catchment for our dams, most alarming is bore hole AI16, what Apex calls a type 3 bore hole, requiring hydraulic fracturing, & sitting right  above the trirbutary creeks tof Cataract Dam
 Part 3A  approval Environmental Assessment
H2O before CSG logoPlease  e-sign here to demand a
moratorium on CSG /LNG Exploration in
Australia to Save our Water & Farming Land

What others are saying on Coal Seam Gas Exploration

More CSG documents and links to Legislation, CSG Action Groups etc
H2O before CSG logo
For decades Council , State Planning , Tourism, Sydney Water and Conservationists all agreed with the residents of the '2508' district - that the rainforested land nestled between the Royal National Park south of Sydney, and the start  of the Illawarra escarpment., and the aquifer plateau of Helensburgh above that sustains it, should be awarded a conservation zone only second to National parkland.

The1990 Wollongong Local Environment Plan commenced the 7d conservation zone and held strong despite a 1994 Commission of Inquiry lobbied by developers including the Walker Corporation, to rezone for development.  Residents and conservators of the surrounding National parks breathed a sigh of relief that finally Wollongong Council, Sutherland Shire Council, NSW State Planning were committed to maintaining the high 7D (P1) Hacking River catchment zoning.

But as we entered a new millenium, so too did we have a shuffle in the ministry portfolios, chairpersons on Authorities and the germination of Labor's new planning legislation to remove community , councils and environment organisations' power to say No..  Any legislation that hindered the new money making machine has relatively quickly become  an amended bill, proposed and passed, or nominated and seconded,  from new Heritage Council composition to Part 3A rules all.

A perfect example is our precious Sydney Water Catchment of Woronora, which also borders the Garawarra and Heathcote national park. It is not only suffering from the subsidence effects of Peabody Coal's Metropolitan - long wall mining approved by Premier Keneally,  the same region is now under the threat of Coal Seam Gas - methane mining.   Though touted with the benefit of less greenhouse emissions than coal burning for electricity, its method of extraction comes at a price of 'fracking'  - fracturing the coal layers just 300 or 400m down, pumping massive amounts of water and chemicals down, and up to the surface again, and hopefully  trucked away for treatment .Unfortunately despite the billions of dollars that can be potentially generated by the latent gas,  profits haven't stopped the disaster of poisoned bore water and the now endangered Delaware River in the USA  caused by 'fracking',  or the dumping of tainted water in the NSW  Hunter Valley by AGL in its exploration of coal seam gas.  ஐ Apex Energy Discussion Paper.
'The billion dollar energy industry has a dirty little secret...' GasLand documentary - Josh Fox
What makes the relaxation of the high conservation zoning of the Helensburgh  Hacking River catchment  and the carte blanche invitation to foreign mining and petroleum companies into our  state conservation and drinking water catchment,   suddenly no longer incredible, is a quick study of  the state government seats of power and Wolllongong City Council over the past six or seven years. TIimeline of NSW State Government & WCC Planning

proposed Apex Energy CSG bores & power stationWho or what is to really benefit from so much land across NSW being rezoned for development and infrastructure for coal seam gas exploration  at such a high price to the environment and communities?

The proposed nearby drill  sites, gas power station and letters of agreement between Apex Energy and Peabody Metropolitan Colliery - Helensburgh,  all with the  DoP Part3A Director General's signature of approval,  certainly make it clearer why Council is pushing to rezone so much of the the 2508 regions conservation land to industrial.   Amazingly too the NSW Department of  Mineral Resources requested in the Draft  LEP2009 that the SCA lands west of the escarpment be zoned E3 to permit coal seam methane production - & WCC complied!
The search for cleaner air, accessable and renewable energy sources is a priority, and producing electricity from an otherwise waste product is great, BUT not at the risk of our essential drinking water catchment or endangered Illawarra wildlife. For shame, that our local government didn't choose, as promised following ICAC in 2008, to be more transparent and involved with the residential community.

The  residential communities , the end users of Sydney's drinking water catchment,  conservators and guardians of our State and national conservation areas  
- we all NEED TO KNOW,  all the pros and cons of this method of energy source exploration, extraction, processing and distribution.   Mining Shareholders, the Director General & State Planning Minister should not hold all the information and right of approval.  Its OUR LIVES, OUR WATER,  OUR FUTURE

Abbreviations :  CSG = coal seam gas   CSM = coal seam methane

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