Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fresh Eyes

Host Simon Baker travels to Northwest Australia to visit one Aboriginal tribe defending their 'Song Cycle' and way of life as their government and corporations attempt to develop natural gas fields around them.

Very powerful story on Walmadan (James Price Point). Amazing when its put into a context like this, sit back and watch, then share.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yawuru People - Making a stand against fracking reaching thousands of people as they make their way to the races in Broome today.

The Mining Company Buru - lead this risky environmental venture which could be just another failed attempt by a Company to run roughshod over communities in NW Australia. Woodside’s withdrawal from James Price Point in 2013 and more recently French nuclear power giant Areva has abandoned a Kimberley uranium project. With Buru’s falling share price, No Social Licence, delays and low cash flow the writing seems to be on the wall. Buru are also refusing to release information to the community regarding the chemicals they plan to use.

In short - Fracking is the process of drilling then injecting fluid, much of it toxic, into the ground at high pressure, to fracture gas-bearing rocks to release natural gas.

During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals can leak from wells and contaminate nearby groundwater. Broome draws its drinking water from the ground. Buru Energy have plans to frack the Kimberley. The US, there have been more than 1000 documented cases of water contamination near areas of gas drilling.

Some of the countries that have banned fracking are France, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland. The Australian state of Victoria currently has a moratorium on fracking.

Here in WA the state Government fully supports fracking. 
Damian Kelly

Friday, August 1, 2014

Unconventional gas in WA Canning Basin faces opposition

Buru Yulleroo Wells

29th July 2014

Thursday 31 July 2014 6:35AM
The Kimberley region of Western Australia is known to most Australians for its wild beauty. But it's also rich in minerals, and potentially gas.
The so-called 'tight gas' is locked deep underground in the sandstone layers of the Canning Basin in the Southern Kimberley. Optimistic estimates predict that reserves of unconventional gas could power Western Australia for 500 years.
But it's expensive, there are technical hurdles to overcome, and environmental groups and native title holders oppose the use of chemicals and fracking technology.
Buru Energy Carving up Country

Unmonitored well left abandoned

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ATBC Resolution in Support of Stronger Laws for Climate-change Mitigation and Environmental Protection in Australia |

ATBC Resolution in Support of Stronger Laws for Climate-change Mitigation and Environmental Protection in Australia 

At this 2014 annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, in Cairns, Australia, we, the association representing 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 nations including Australia DECLARE:
Whereas, the industrialised Commonwealth of Australia has one of the world’s highest per capita greenhouse-gas emission rates in the world, and relies primarily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation, it still is a major contributor to global climate disruption.
Whereas, human-caused climate disruption (global warming) is now one of the greatest threats to species and ecosystems worldwide, and will increasingly exacerbate the current extinction crisis arising from human endeavour.
Whereas, Australia has experienced severe fragmentation of biologically unique habitats as a result of human development, in part resulting in the world’s highest mammal extinction rate, and a major loss of other plant and animal species.
Whereas Australia has recently weakened or overturned decades of legislation designed to protect its sensitive natural ecosystems and species, as well as altered demonstrably effective climate-change mitigation strategies such as elimination of the carbon-pricing scheme.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation:
  • Urges the Commonwealth Government to reconsider its stance on a financial penalty system to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, and that it implement a mandatory emissions-trading scheme in light of its recent decision to overturn the existing carbon-pricing scheme. The Commonwealth Government’s ‘Direct Action’ plan to reduce its emissions will be ineffective for reducing emissions.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government to retain its Renewable Energy Target to maximise renewable energy penetration in its electricity-generation sector.
  • Commends the Commonwealth Government’s recent announcement to appoint Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner and a Ministerial Council on the Environment to advise the Commissioner, but encourages the Government to instate some legislative power to the position as it currently lacks decision-making power to effect real change to threatened-species policies.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government not to devolve national oversight of industrial and urban development potentially exacerbating the status of Australia’s threatened species. The Government should not allow individual Australian states to weaken or overturn national legislation such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 given the recent trends for state governments to relax laws for vegetation clearing and to allow industrial activities such as logging, grazing, fishing and mining in ‘national’ parks and other protected areas.
  • Urges the government to reinstate a major funding scheme to the only independent legal entity available to limit environmentally destructive human development – the Environmental Defenders Office. Without funding to continue this essential legal representation for environmental-related cases, rampant and demonstrably damaging development will go unchecked.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government to abandon its attempt to remove the tax-deductible status of environmental groups and non-government organisations that work to protect Australia’s unique and threatened ecosystems and natural capital.
  • Encourages the Commonwealth Government to commit to enforcing the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 that criminalises the importation into Australia of illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber, and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 that regulates compliance of theAct. Any delay in enforcement of the Act and the Regulation will result in even greater deforestation of tropical and other forests and continued loss of species from these mega-diverse habitats in the Asia – Pacific region.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

Photo: Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, opens the big anti-fracking rally in Sacramento with a ceremony and prayer on March 15. Photo by Dan Bacher.

"California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

"The EPA's report, commissioned from outside consultants, also said that California regulators routinely failed to adequately examine the geology around an injection well to ensure that fluids pumped into it would not leak underground and contaminate drinking water aquifers. The report found that state inspectors often allowed injection at pressures that exceeded the capabilities of the wells and thus risked cracking the surrounding rock and spreading contaminants. Several accidents in recent years in California involved injected waste or injected steam leaking back out of abandoned wells, or blowing out of the ground and creating sinkholes, including one 2011 incident that killed an oil worker. The exemptions and other failings, said Damon Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in an email, are "especially disturbing" in a state that has been keenly aware of severe water constraints for more than a century and is now suffering from a crippling drought.  

"Our drinking water sources must be protected and preserved for the precious resources they are, not sacrificed as a garbage dump for the oil and gas industry." 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"NO" to fracking on Yawuru country! BUT !!!

The Yawuru and Djugun people met to vote on the matter regarding Buru Energy's threat to country with their proposal to hydraulic fracture (Fraccing or Fracking) in Yawuru country for the mining of Shale gas.

Option 1 had 76 votes,
Option 2 had 6 votes,
And option 3 had 12 votes.

That vote is not worth the paper it's written on. Please take the time to read the "options" presented to Yawuru. The one chosen by the majority was option 1.

" Yawuru does not agree to the 2014/2015 fracking at Yulleroo, but if Buru Energy goes ahead with fracking, Buru Energy must agree to meet environmental, cultural, social and economic conditions set by Yawuru.

This is a multipliable choice question, without boxes for none of the above or the option of calling for a Moratorium on fracking in Yawuru Country. This is not an agenda but a Smoke & Mirror Game. Who devised this agenda, how were these three choices formulated and how many meetings have they had to get this micro managed result.

No fracking in 2014 and no fracking until it could be scientifically proved it is safe was the last decision made by Yawuru. Why did Yawuru move from this position?  Were they pushed, hoodwinked by the science, dizzied by the nice people or convinced by the corporate lies of the profiteers?

Who will formulate the so-called conditions, monitor compliance or undertake enforcement and under what legislation could they be applied.  Will Yawuru release these conditions to the community for our understanding

Even the Department of Mines and Petroleum do not have the legislative powers to enforce an Environmental Plan. It is a well-held belief with the community that there is considerable amount of conflicts of interest involved in this decision-making and meeting management processes including share deals, backhanders and employment. 

Yawuru fought hard and long for their Native Title for nearly two decades and were granted exclusive procession. So what does exclusive procession mean? Does Yawuru intend to challenge the state government and Buru Energy in the courts to obtain to right to veto unwanted evasive extraction industries on their lands, given their exclusive procession under Native Title.

More importantly when will Mitsubishi's lackeys Buru Energy- and the Yawuru provide open and transparent community consultation. 

I hope the Broome community will not be treated like we were by Woodside and the Department of State Development and be excluded from the conversation. Because community issues a Social Licence to Operate and community means just that.

The Shire of Broome and Yawuru have a Duty of Care to the broader community and should be both open and transparent with their decisions and plans in regards to Fracking and turning our community into a service town for rapidly declining fossil fools industries.  

Fling open the doors and windows and let fresh air, knowledge, wisdom and the science into an all inclusive community debate.

The Broome Shire and Yawuru must shoulder the responsibility and opening up community debate and consultation because their decisions will have huge effects on Country and Community.  It will be unforgiveable should our community be dragged once again through another fracking community soul destroying decadal.   Do not denied this community a voice, a choice or negate open honest debate because we have the rights not to be taken down a road that leads clearly to a dead end future.

There have been many opportunities for Yawuru to say no. Even more so because Buru first fracked in 2010 without any approvals or consent. If Pat Dodson stood up and issued a media release stating that Yawuru opposed fracking on their lands Buru Energy shares would plummet over night.

Buru has no legal obligations to adhere to any conditions set by Yawuru. However Yawuru does have social, cultural and spiritual obligations to all who live in their Country, who use the water and breath the air. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kimberley Aboriginal leaders call for a moratorium on fracking « Kred

Kimberley Aboriginal leaders call for a moratorium on fracking « Kred

Kimberley Aboriginal leaders call for a moratorium on fracking

By Madelaine Dickie
Kimberley Aboriginal leaders have called for the WA State Government to put a moratorium on fracking until there are systems in place to ensure all Kimberley Traditional Owners have the relevant resources and information to make an informed decision about what happens on their country.
The moratorium was discussed and voted on at a public meeting for Kimberley Traditional Owners at Yurmulun (Pandanus Park) Community, about 60 kilometres south of Derby.
Around thirty Aboriginal people attended the open forum meeting.
CEO of KRED Enterprises, Wayne Bergmann, says it is something that needs to be discussed collectively.
“We’re concerned about the lack of information on the table about whether fracking can be done safely or not. Fracking will have a regional impact and if it can’t be done safely, it will affect all of us. We need companies in our backyard to step up and earn their social license to operate by ensuring all Aboriginal groups have the relevant information so we can make an informed decision.”
A plan of action was also agreed upon, with a bush meeting scheduled for late August where Traditional Owners will articulate a vision for how they would like to see development progress in the Kimberley.
Mr Bergmann says it’s crucial local Aboriginal stakeholders have a say about the future of their region.
“Part of this vision for development of the Kimberley, is about protecting our environmental and cultural values, while also ensuring our people can participate in sustainable economic development,” Mr Bergmann says.
A large part of the Canning Superbasin was represented at the meeting with attendees travelling from Broome, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby.

First Dog on the Moon on ... mourning the carbon tax - cartoon | Comment is free |

Thursday, July 17, 2014

History will condemn climate change denialists | Robert Manne | Comment is free |

History will condemn climate change denialists | Robert Manne | Comment is free |

The right-wing denialists, now dominant within the Coalition, often call themselves conservatives. They are not. At the heart of true conservatism is the belief that each new generation forms the vital bridge between past and future, and is charged with the responsibility of passing the earth and its cultural treasures to their children and grandchildren in sound order. History will condemn the climate change denialists, here and elsewhere, for their contribution to the coming catastrophe that their cupidity, their arrogance, their myopia and their selfishness have bequeathed to the young and the generations still unborn.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


This week, in the Kimberley two Indigenous meetings will be held to talk about the ramifications of the proposed fracking regime of the Canning Basin and their homelands. Agendas are based around concerns regarding usage and misuse of their precious surface & underground waters, effects to the environment, the interminable admission of poisonous emissions and of course all the social implications on socially anguished communities.

 Indigenous people all over the world are fighting resource extraction from their lands in order to fulfill their birth obligations to protect and conserve for the following of births. The depredations of fracking and government collusion with industry come as no surprise to indigenous people or the Broome community—it is yet another form of extractive colonialism laying waste to the land and water and sacrificing the health of the people for short term economic gain of a very few.
Resistance to fracking has been widespread and politically diverse.  Fracking poses dire threats to universal things we all need such as clean water and air, it naturally unifies people when they stand up to fight it. 

Importantly, local grassroots community organising has formed the base of the anti-fracking movement across the nation and now people in the Kimberley are turning their attentions to the proposed industrialised gas fields on a massive scale across the Canning Basin and coal mining in the Fitzroy Valley.

Basically, people of all different  social backgrounds who never considered themselves activists are realizing that their water supply, their wilderness and their communities are under threat. The community is talking to their neighbors, in shopping centres, and at family and community gatherings. Quietly and surely their resistance and their collective community power is being mustered against these proposed distressing and nauseating fracking industry corporations.

When the EPA and other regulatory departments neglect their legislative obligations or uphold even the basic of principles like  Duty of Care. When compliance and monitoring responsibilities are never undertaken unless brought to their attention by concern persons, the media or questions in parliament. When they: dismiss the public calls for help’ gainsay true independent umpire, deny the damages of fracking operations and than declare its safe is both unforgiveable and unbelievable. To place the control over these operations into the hands of the Department of Mines and Petroleum is placing the roasted chicken in the fox’s mouth.

However, what does become clear to many people is that these departments and their fossil fool corporate masters are deeply corrupted. People are radicalized as they start to realise that these cozy arrangements benefit a few and are actually working against their interests, dreams and future plans.

Resistance tactics have ranged from the passing of local shire or community-wide bans on fracking, community science and monitoring, to sit-ins at corrupt politicians’ offices and numerous blockades of drilling sites, pipeline construction sites and wastewater injection facilities. Across Australian grassroots resistance is playing an important role. Mainstream environmental NGO’s have taken center stage in anti-fracking organising, focused largely on seeking legislative moratoriums or bans.

While professional activist groups offer a wealth of valuable resources and experience navigating environmental law, their larger organisational imperatives and agendas can limit the vision of movements and lead to compromises and decisions that aren't in the best interests of local communities and in some cases even the ecosystems. It’s important that community organisers be aware of organisational power dynamics when collaborating with NGOs, so as to maintain local autonomy, emphasising power from below and direct involvement of community members in decision making is vital. It’s a united community power, their motivation, intent, networks, history and connection that carry successful campaigns.

It doesn’t make any sense to focus on fracking as a single issue. Even if fracking or oil drilling itself was totally banned, we know the more industry will be back soon with a new and ever-more destructive form of resource extraction.

Clearly, for this work to mean anything long-term, we have to be working towards much bigger changes in our relationship to the land and how we meet our needs, and we have to challenge the power structure that depends on the continuation of ever-increasing plunder and exploitation. What’s exciting about the anti-fracking movement is that it’s building grassroots community power and waging that against industry and government corruption. The networks of resistance we build now and the experiences we learn from will be crucial in future struggles.

Conflict over fracking in the Kimberley and within all Australian’s major Water Basins will undoubtedly be increasing in the years to come, as environmental problems and water shortages grow ever more severe and people grow ever so Fed Up.

We can all clearly see that these old fossil fools corporations have their foot firmly planted on the accelerator in fear of their never ending decline in profit margins. These injudicious mugs will not stop ransacking the land or poisoning all our water until our resistance becomes powerful enough to make it unprofitable and impossible for them to travel down their road map to destruction.

We do not have to look any further than the Pilbara to have insight into broken promises of wealth, prosperity and employment for all. There are dead mining towns and all their associated polluting rubbish all over this country.

I have total and complete faith that Indigenous communities throughout the Kimberly will create a historical united frontline of resistance to the extractive industries. Why, because they will dare the brunt of the social, economic and environmental impacts and all its associated harmful effects.

Indigenous people are taking it upon themselves to travel the dusty roads taking information and films out to the people in order for them to be educated about fracking and the tactics used by these corporations to divide and conquer. The mirror and beads game no longer works. Many Traditional Owners, Elders and leaders from around the Kimberley have been outspoken against and have and will continue to educate their people and lobby hard against fracking. Free, Prior and Informed Consent Rights are alive and kicking up lots of pindan dust directly into the faces of the profiteers.

Leadership in anti-fracking struggle has largely emerged from the powerful and deeply rooted indigenous feeling of their true sovereignty, of keeping Country strong and the water clean and flowing. Indigenous communities across the world have extensive experience defending their lands, and many have firmly drawn the line against fracking. It will be no different in the Kimberley. We’ll hold the ground.

In Australia, Indigenous people have been fighting the extractive system for longer than anyone else because they are the most impacted upon by its harmful effects.  It’s a settler colony based on a colonial, extractive relationship with the land and a genocidal relationship with indigenous people. The responsibility to confront the colonial system, support indigenous self-determination and actually transform our relationships with the land and indigenous people belongs to everyone living in the Australia: if we don’t, we’re continuing to enact a legacy of genocide and we’re destined to extinguish the life support systems of the planet.

Solidarity isn’t just about feel-good charity or lending a helping hand, it’s about building mutual partnerships that can sustain joint struggle and support collective well-being in the long term. Solidarity grows from being strongly rooted in your own struggle and recognising our deepest values and needs in the struggles of others. Solidarity demands that we know ourselves and where we stand. That entails things like learning our family/ancestral stories and the history of the land we are living on, reflecting often on what is most important to us and why, and locating ourselves and our complicities in the larger structures of oppression. To live in solidarity with indigenous self-determination, we must also be seeking self-determination ourselves. Together, we determine the future; we issue the Social Licence to operate.

The pursuit of economic growth at all costs is not only destructive for indigenous peoples but also for the rest of humanity and the planet. The focus on GDP as a main measure of progress has distorted the true meaning of progress and wellbeing. For example, damage to ecosystems, irreversible loss in biological diversity and the erosion of cultural and linguistic diversity and indigenous traditional knowledge are not factored into the balance sheet. Such ecological, cultural, social and spiritual indicators, which provide more comprehensive measurements of national and global situations, are seldom used.

The failure of the dominant development paradigm, as evidenced by the lingering global economic crisis, the environmental crisis of climate change and the erosion of biological diversity, signals the need to evolve alternative ways of thinking about and pursuing development. Indigenous peoples’ visions and perspectives of development provide some of these alternatives that should be articulated and discussed further:

Development with culture and identity can be further strengthened through genuine collaboration among indigenous peoples, academics, scientists and NGOs. When pursued correctly, with trust being the biding collaboration is can prove to be beneficial not only for empowering indigenous peoples and their cultures but also for enriching and having a positive impact on the broader society and environment.

Be prepared to be disregarded —remember the history. Keep showing up when support is requested, attend the meetings and demonstrate your commitment to Country, Culture and Community. Seek to build the networks, support and cohesion. WE HOLD THE GROUND.