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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Coal Seam Gas extraction is poisoning waterways worldwide

Many thanks to Kim Martin who forwarded this link, saying "You must read this article". She's right.
Many environmentalists concerned about the impacts on groundwater in Australia of coal mining and coal seam gas extraction will have heard of the problems with the "Marcellus Shale" in the USA.
Now here is another report, in Vanity Fair (magazine) which will make your eyes water, and your blood boil.
This is an American story, but the situation will become the same in Australia, as it is largely American companies doing the drilling in Australia, using the same (patented) "Fracking" chemicals (hydraulic rock-fracturing technology) as are used in the USA.
  • Claiming that the information is proprietary, drilling companies have still not come out and fully disclosed what fracking fluid is made of. But activists and researchers have been able to identify some of the chemicals used. They include such substances as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, boric acid, monoethanolamine, xylene, diesel-range organics, methanol, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, ammonium bisulfite, 2-butoxyethanol, and 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazotin-3-one. (Recently, in congressional testimony, drilling companies have confirmed the presence of many of these chemicals.) According to Theo Colborn, a noted expert on water issues and endocrine disruptors, at least half of the chemicals known to be present in fracking fluid are toxic; many of them are carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and mutagens. But Colborn estimates that a third of the chemicals in fracking fluid remain unknown to the public.

    While the E.P.A. under Obama is finally undertaking a new review of fracking—a 2001 review commissioned by the Bush administration was tainted by conflicts of interest and suppression of science—that report is not expected to be completed until the end of 2012.

  • Source:

Even Wikipedia (which always treads carefully so as to avoid being sued) says in its article on the Marcellus Shale: "While it is not clear that Cabot violated any law, it is clear that Natural gas arrived in these wells as a result of oil and gas wells."

Get that? Water wells contaminated by natural gas. Poisonous, and potentially explosive gases in your bore water.

Does the Australian Government want the Great Artesian Basin (and other groundwater supplies in Australia) contaminated with methane, or even Diesel fuel and other toxic chemicals? If not, why does it turn a blind eye to this? CSG drilling is happening right now, in NSW (near Stroud) and in the Namoi Valley and the Pilliga (part of the Great Artesian Basin) and all across central-western Queensland. The State Politicians are falling over themselves in the rush to approve as many exploration licences as they can. And the Federal Environment Minister (Peter Garrett) is refusing to intervene.
Wake up, Australia, before you destroy your precious groundwater resources, on which a vast amount of Australia's rural industries depend.

For more on the impact of the Coal Seam Gas industry on farm lands and farming productivity, please visit the Caroona Coal Action Group website. In particular check out this CSG page on that site, and follow some of the links, especially on Health Effects of CSG mining.

Please view this video linked from the original Vanity Fair story. It takes 11 minutes, but you will find the stories of these people (in their own words) compelling evidence.


Le Loup said...

Wouldn't it make you want to spit!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Le Loup
Yes, especially if you were trying to drink it, or brush your teeth in it.
What is Government up to?
Why do they allow this to happen.
Diesel injected into deep aquifers is going to stay there for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, before it degrades. It is an abomination.

Anonymous said...


this is a great post. I am quite concerned about Coal Seam Gas extraction as well. I was recently in Broke, Mid/Upper-Hunter, where they plan to put three extraction plants in. One was in the middle of the town! With little understanding of the impacts, concern is high for public health and tourism in the town. Will keep my eye out for other interesting articles and will Tweet your post.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Jess
Thanks for dropping by.
I see you have been writing lots about various Fungi, on your Blog.
Broke is smack in the middle of a hot zone, in the Hunter.
CSG extraction is a real problem, and we need as much attention being paid to this as possible.

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Hi. I was having a brief browse the other day and came across your blog which looked worth bookmarking, and I just noticed this news story which you may be interested in, just in case you haven't already seen it.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mac from Australia
Many thanks indeed for that link.
I have immediately forwarded it to groups in NSW and Queensland who are concerned with coal seam gas issues.
Your alertness to send me the link is very much appreciated indeed.
And I can say, as a former Canberran, and a Blogger of some years now, welcome to the co-operative and helpful world of Blogging.
Denis Wilson

Peter Firminger said...

Hi Dennis,

More info from Broke NSW available from and

Also at the HVPA FaceBook page


Peter Firminger

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Peter
I am now running the email forum for Australian Water Campaigners Inc.
I have just posted an article sent by Jenny Thompson from the Singleton Argus.
If it is all right, I will publish those links you have given me, as the various photos of the site show it much better (worse) than the Argus article.
I will email you directly as well.
Amanda Albury was telling me last weekend about the visit by her and Jenny to Bulga.
Many thanks, Peter.
Denis Wilson