Kim Barnes over at The Little Black Cow blog has a situation in her community that she asked me to bring to everyone’s attention so that more people can hear what is going on. A Coal Seam Gas company is scouting around her region (Belford/Branxton) in New South Wales, which is bad news for the farms and environment. Kim has done some research on the Lock The Gate website and she states;
“It appears that you can legally stop them coming on your land to explore, but once you have given them permission to explore…if they find gas, they have permission to mine . The other interesting fact I discovered though, was if you have stopped them coming on your property, if your neighbour gives permission for exploration…they can then mine under your neighbours land into your land .
The water I water my organic vegetables with could be affected. We did not choose this.
Property sales of farmland will be damaged irrevocably. We did not choose this.
The tourism potential of this beautiful area could be damaged irrevocably. We did not choose this.
These companies have an endless supply of money for advertising and making themselves look good on television and in newspapers. Farmers don’t have that kind of money ….their money is in their biggest asset, their land …..and without that they are no longer farmers.
The coal seam gas companies also have an endless supply of smooth answers that tell us nothing. Real information is not in their guide book.”
There is a local community meeting that you can go to if you are in this area, and here are the details
What can I do?
Do not allow company representatives onto your land for any reason. Meet them at your gate for any discussion, preferably with a neighbour, but never alone. Record every moment, ideally with a video camera. Tell them you are Locking The Gate and refuse them access to your property. A simple “No Trespassers” sign on all access gates will keep them away. Your have a legal right to do this that will be upheld by the courts.
The industry will try to charm you and persuade you that their activities will be minimal. A typical line is “We have no plan to …” . However, experience shows that plans always change. Initial agreements and compensation may have seemed fair and reasonable, but many landholders have found that the development escalated well beyond what was agreed upon – without consultation.
If you allow access to your property you will lose of control of your life, your property and your business. Once they are into the gas production phase they have a legal right to enter your property with or without your permission.
Make sure you and your neighbours speak with one voice. Remember, if you tell them to go away and they must go. Always say NO to requests for access. Do not sign anything. Seek legal advice.
Where can I find help?
Many communities are affected. The Lock The Gate Alliance has formed to focus on the key issues, share information, provide support and mobilise broad community support through education and the media.
We will bring about the change necessary to save Australia from a rapacious industry that will affect everyone unless we stop, think, demand change and restore balanceVisit www.lockthegate.org.au and join the Lock The Gate Alliance
Does anyone in the blogging community have any similar experiences or advice for Kim that they would like to share?