As I wrote a few days ago, the Nepean River is in trouble. Today a number of concerned residents, and environmental lobbyists gathered at Caroline Graham's place at Douglas Park. We watched a video which Maurice Blackwood has recorded, talking to people all around NSW about the problems which coal mines are causing them, but specifically to the rivers.
After the video, we then went down to the Nepean, north-east of the Twin Bridges at Douglas Park, to where the gas was known to be leaking from the cracked base of the river.
The morning started badly though when I heard a "grab" on the ABC news of Premier Morris Iemma talking about the gas leaks in the Nepean River, we will investigate this, and "if it is real, we will fix it". What an insult: If it is real - indeed.
Pray tell, Mr Premier how you propose to "fix" a gas leak coming through 300 metres of crack rockbase? The man has no idea, and is just mouthing 5 seconds of platitudes, to try and satisfy a journalist's inquiry.
John Kaye MLC (a Greens member of the Upper House) spoke with the Rivers SOS group, and was well received.
Pru Goward, MLA, Member for Goulburn, joined the members of the Rivers SOS group, and Maurice, Julie and myself took Pru down to inspect the area of the Nepean River where the gas is obviously leaking out. Pru made the point that we can only tell that the gas is leaking out through the river bed, because we can see the bubbles. It is quite possible that it is coming out all though this area, along the river bank, though the sand, but we cannot tell. Quite a scary thought, that. Dave Burgess, an environmental campaigner with the Total Environment Centre, was the hero of the day, as the Illawarra mercury carried a page 1 story based largely upon Dave's work to document the cracking of the Catchment around the Dendrobium mine - another BHP Billiton mine.
I took this photo of Dave holding the Page 4 photo of himself lying down, looking into a metre-wide crack in the soil caused by subsidence above the Dendrobium mine. You may read the story here.