Coal Bed Methane Conflict Gets Nasty in Australia

This story is about as far from the U.S. plains states as you can get, but it’s a tale all too familiar to American farmers and ranchers living over coal bed methane reserves.  In the prime farmland of New South Wales, Australia, damage to land and water by miners of what the Aussies call “coal seam gas” has led to fighting words by a motley coalition of “conservatives … lefties … and environmentalists,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.  Retired New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Robert Hunter, who left the court in 2002 and farms in the area, told a local Food Security Forum attended by 400 people that the Australian federal government should:

establish an Office of Food Security and said local farmers were right to oppose miners harming their land and irrevocably damaging water supplies.

”It’s a just cause that stands between the greed of the mining corporations and their feeding off the proceeds of unjust laws … Unjust laws that don’t recognise the national importance of food security. It’s the destruction of ancient land rights without any semblance of any form of just compensation.

”It’s a form of legalised theft,” he said.

The meeting was chaired by popular Sydney talk radio host Alan Jones, no stranger to controversy himself, and featured other speakers whose remarks reportedly included accusations of government corruption in favor of mining interests and declarations that:

the widespread incursion of miners into rural food-producing areas was the most extreme radical experiment in social engineering ever seen in Australia and would result in suicides and acts of terrorism against coal seam gas installations.

The extreme energy pot is on the boil.

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