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The Get Up Team report on CSG

S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

The Get Up team published the following report after the recent people-power win at Bentley. The community rallied to prevent Metagasco from drilling, saying  was a win for the community and grass roots organising.’

The report follows:

‘The community of Bentley is celebrating. Last week, the NSW Government suspended coal seam gas company Metgasco’s licence to drill on their land. Better yet, the NSW Government also referred Metgasco to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) citing insufficient community consultation.

The community had been left with no option but to stand in the way of Metgasco — literally. Thousands united to form a blockade — preventing the first CSG well from being drilled.

And now, the people have won. For the moment at least, their land is safe.

This is a win for the community and for grassroots organising. The threat coal seam gas poses to our communities can sometimes feel insurmountable. But this week, we’ve seen exactly what people power can do.

A big, heartfelt congratulations to all who have been involved in the Bentley community campaign. Congratulations too to organisations like Lock the Gate who have been central to its success.

But that’s not all that’s happened this week.

Further inland, the community of north-west NSW is standing up in opposition to gas giant Santos’ huge proposed Narribri CSG development. Here’s how you and other GetUp members have been involved:

After news broke that Santos had contaminated an aquifer with heavy metals including uranium in the Pilliga State Forest, the response was immediate.

43,448 GetUp members from across Australia rallied behind the local community, signing a petition to Santos CEO David Knox calling on him to drop the Narribri CSG project.

161 people then used their power as Santos shareholders to present the petition to the company. Together, they forced a shareholder resolution to abandon the Narribri Gas Project, to be put on the agenda of the Santos Annual General Meeting (AGM) for a vote.

The shareholder resolution was put together by The Wilderness Society, based on extensive scientific research into the damage Santos has already caused, and the threat their proposed expansion poses to a crucial recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

GetUp members then put in an extraordinary fundraising effort to run ads in national newspapers. 2260 donors chipped in in just 48 hours. The response was so strong our media buyer Hayley was not only able to place the ad in the Financial Review, but secured a full page ad in The Australian too. Congratulations.

The ad featured farmers whose livelihoods could be under threat from another coal seam gas groundwater contamination. Thank you to all those who took time out during harvest to help make the ad happen.

The dynamic fundraising effort helped the high impact ad reach over half a million Australians. Even better, the ad sparked national media attention, generating headlines like ‘Santos told: Your gas is on the nose’1.

On Friday, with pressure already building, dozens of farmers and Traditional Owners made the journey from north west NSW to Adelaide for Santos’ Annual General Meeting. The stories they told were incredible.

As The Australian reported, “for nearly two hours of a four hour meeting, the motion was debated, giving the group of farmers and environmentalists plenty of time to show the board and shareholders the extent of their opposition.”2

Gomeroi Traditional Owner Deborah Briggs travelled to the AGM to speak for her country and Elders,

“I’ve seen the damage that Santos coal seam gas has done to the Pilliga, the heart of our Gomeroi Nation. Our Elders would walk to the end of the Earth to protect the Pilliga, and I’ve carried their voices to the Santos AGM to speak against the Narrabri Gas Project.”

In the end, the shareholder resolution was voted down, but the message we sent was clear. With every step Santos takes in its CSG expansion into north west NSW, our resistance grows stronger. The pressure from communities and from all across Australia is building, and we won’t stop until our land and water is protected.

Santos’ CEO and executives now know they have to justify their actions to shareholders and to the public. No longer will they be allowed operate as they like, treating the land they use with contempt and not expect to face the consequences.

This has been an exceptional week in the fight to keep our land, water and communities coal seam gas free.

A special thank you for the relentless work of the Northwest Alliance, The Wilderness Society, Lock The Gate and all other groups involved. Without your dedication, none of this would be possible. ‘

[1] Santos told: Your gas is on the nose; get out. The Australian. May 16, 2014.
[2] Santos votes to push CSG project. The Australian. May 17, 2014

This article has been printed in its entirety from the report provided to wattlerangenow

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