Jessica Lowe, Whian Whian
I am a cattle farmer from Whian Whian, a parent of three young children and the wife of a local GP. I would like to respond to an article in the Rural Weekly on 31/10/12: ‘Casino farmers tell of positive CSG experience overseas’. The ‘positive CSG experience’ apparently occurred in Calgary, Canada, while two local farmers were there to attend the World Hereford Conference last July.
A Google search of ‘fracking Calgary’ brings up the following:
‘27 Sep 2012: Cochrane residents meet to discuss fracking concerns – Calgary – CBC’; ‘20 Sep 2012: Quebec minister’s fracking comments worry Calgary companies’; and
‘7 Sep 2012: BC oil and gas regulator links fracking to earthquakes – Calgary Herald’.
But one of the most informative articles is from Australia’s own ‘Coal Seam Gas News’ website. It is titled: ‘Albertan, Tired of Her Tap Water Catching Fire, Sues’. Jessica Ernst, a 54-year-old oil-and-gas scientist, launched a $30 million lawsuit against EnCana, her local fracking company, in April 2011. The case is still in process.
An internet search on ‘fracking cattle’ is even more depressing. I don’t understand how cattle farmers could support coal-seam gas mining. The Bamberger study, a published peer-reviewed paper is full of case studies of cattle infertility, stillbirths, and cattle deaths where they are exposed to toxic chemicals in unconventional gas fields in the US. Gas-mining companies hinder health research by insisting on ‘confidentiality agreements’ when things go wrong. If you follow what’s happening in the US and Queensland, things are going wrong all over the place.
One of the farmers said in the Rural Weekly article: ‘I would like to know how they are going to deal with the waste water, because I am not sure what will happen with that’.
I encourage all farmers to rethink Metgasco’s spin. If you are one of those few farmers who have entered an access agreement for exploration, do not enter into another access agreement for production. The health of your family, cattle, soils and community are too important. It’s not too late to seek more information.