gasland wide

What The Frack?

with Mark O’Brien

Coal seam gas and fracking. What’s the big deal?

In 2010 I watched a film called Gaslands. This was about the proliferation in the US of coal seam gas wells and its impacts on the health of the environment and that of the people who live nearby or whose properties have had wells drilled on them.

Nobody really knows how many wells there are as there is no regulation of them.

The movie showed the impacts on local water supplies after a process whereby vast volumes of water and chemicals (similar to brake fluid, tho its exact composition is kept secret due to commercial considerations) are pumped deep below ground to force the gas up to the surface.

Pumping this fluid fractures (hence ‘fracking’) the bedrock and the gas can then rise to the surface.

The film shows landscapes poisoned by this fluid and water tables poisoned by the gas released, with dramatic footage of farmers setting the brown water coming out of their kitchen taps alight. Watch this movie.

This industry has come to Australia, way faster than anyone could have imagined.

In SE Queensland many wells have been built with or without the consent of the landowners.

What has become apparent here is that landowners do not have any rights to what is under the ground nor does the law protect them against their land being mined.

Large swathes of Sydney are due to have wells drilled, including under Bankstown and Centennial Park, and many exploration permits have been granted in northern NSW, and initial protests have been held in Murwullimbah, Byron Bay and Lismore.

Simply put, the people do not want drillers coming onto their land and poisoning it. Fair enough I reckon.

Recently there was a 60-day moratorium announced by the NSW Government while some environment issues are discussed.

Given that the NSW and Federal governments are supportive of this industry, it is clear that this fight, for clean water, for safe farmland, will have to be fought by individuals and groups of people.

An alliance of community groups, Lock the Gate has formed and I recommend that you find out what is going on as a matter of urgency.

There is no way that this will not affect everyone one way or another, and we all need to get up to speed before our land is destroyed for short term monetary gain.


Visit  for a really good analysis of the coal seam gas industry, the amount of water it will use, the greenhouse emissions it was produce etc etc. Updated daily, most recently at the time of writing this, November 24, 2011.

Share What The Frack? with your friends on Facebook