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April 1, 2023

CSG campaigner’s charges dismissed

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Glenugie CSG protest November 2012. Photo Kate Ausburn / Flickr.com
Glenugie CSG protest November 2012. Photo Kate Ausburn / Flickr.com

An anti coal seam gas campaigner whose actions in following a truck driver who had been dumping toxic drill mud from a Metgasco test drilling site at Glenugie near Grafton have been vindicated by a Ballina court.

All charges against Terry Elvey, of Halfway Creek, in relation to the action, including allegations of stalking, were dismissed last Friday in Ballina Court by magistrate David Heilpern.

Mr Elvey was the latest anti-CSG protester to have charges against him dismissed in court.

Mr Heilpern said that no substantive evidence had been presented by the prosecution to prove any offence by Mr Elvey beyond reasonable doubt.

The case was brought by police after the driver of the truck carrying the toxic waste from Metgasco’s drilling site complained people were following him and he felt angry that someone might follow him to his house.

The truck driver, Jade Wesley Rose, of Pimlico, said that he took the load of what he called ‘just mud out of the ground’ to a disposal facility in Queensland, but couldn’t remember exactly where.

Mr Rose also told police that he observed a car driven by Mr Elvey illegally cross double white lines on the road.

Mr Heilpern said that Mr Elvey’s testimony showed genuine concern for what would happen to the drilling waste in Mr Rose’s truck, and had no intention to cause fear, so could not be convicted of two charges of stalking.

Mr Elvey told the court that he had concerns about the destination of drilling mud being removed on several occasions from the Glenugie site and he had tried to follow the truck driven by Mr Rose. He had been stopped and warned off by police.

Mr Elvey said that on the third occasion, he succeeded because he was in fact ahead of the truck which was followed from Glenugie by another environmental protester.

The truck driven by Mr Rose belonged to his company, Ballina Pumping Service, which was contracted to cart the drilling mud by Metgasco.

Mr Elvey said that Mr Rose had been involved in several altercations with protesters at the drilling site.

A spokesman for Northern Rivers Lock The Gate Alliance, Ian Gaillard, said after the case that the drilling waste contained a number of toxic ingredients and was only approved for transport to a treatment plant in Queensland.

‘Metgasco has a history of operating outside its terms of consent,’ Mr Gaillard said.

‘The company was fined for illegally disposing of fluids from drill sites into the public waste treatment plant at Casino in 2012.

‘If Metgasco engaged only in lawful activities, as it claims, then why are they so secretive? No one could be sure where the mining waste would end up.’

But Metgasco’s managing director Peter Henderson told Echonetdaily that the company was not fined for illegally disposing of fluids.

Ballina Court on Friday was told that the truck carrying toxic waste was followed to a Whites Lane property owned by Mr Rose.

According to the APN Media, investigations by staff from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Ballina Shire Council determined that last year Mr Rose, the managing director of Ballina Pumping Service and Northern Rivers Vacuum Excavation, had illegally stored waste material at his Pimlico property.

This inlcuded 15,600 litres of grease trap waste, 10,500 litres of waste oil and 3000 litres of drilling or excavation mud.

The EPA found there was the potential for serious environmental harm. The property is close to the Richmond River. Mr Rose was fined $2,250 by the EPA.

Charges against Mr Rose and his company for illegal dumping of hazardous waste are scheduled to be heard in Ballina Court on 19 September.

Mr Elvey had told the court he was simply a concerned citizen trying to prevent pollution from the CSG industry.

‘It is all very well for the government to issue mining conditions, but who will verify that regulations are being obeyed?

‘Turns out we were right to follow the truck, which didn’t go anywhere near Brisbane.’

Mr Gaillard said that samples of the drilling mud were found to contain high levels of arsenic and other contaminants.

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  1. It’s good to see these guys are being monitored and their dumping practices scrutinised.
    Hats off to magistrate David Heilpern for dismissing these spurious charges.

  2. The truck driver was only doing his job and should not have been harassed, This sort of nonsense could cause a serious accident. Do protesters ever think of this, Of course not.
    The people making the charge did not prepare it properly.
    Properly prepare d it would have been successful.
    Protesters need a few successful case against them to persuade them that they are NOT universal fountains of knowledge.
    A fact now ignored by these people is that CSG mining had it e beginnings in Green agitation to stop mining.

    Ossie Brunner

    • It is a bit hard to take Ossie seriously.
      Is he saying that if anyone is being paid to do something, then whatever he is doing is OK? I believe that, to take only one example, some people pay others to run drugs. So the person doing that should not be followed, just left to go about his lawless business?
      And how does following someone cause a serious accident, unless the follower is tailgating? The person being followed may try to take dangerous evasive action,but it is hard to see how blame for that can attach to the follower.
      perhaps the reason for the charge not being successful was that the person charged was not actually doing anything wrong. Or is that too simple?

    • Wrong Ossie, the truck driver was NOT just doing his job. If you had bothered to read the article properly, you’d have learnt that the truck driver, Jade Wesley Rose, of Pimlico, was not delivering his load of toxic waste to the authorised disposal facility in Brisbane but was actually headed in the opposite direction, to a Whites Lane property owned by Mr Rose. And furthermore, this same truck driver, who owns a business called Ballina Pumping Service, which was contracted to cart the drilling mud by Metgasco, was caught dumping toxic waste on his property and fined $2,250 by the EPA. So you see, Ossie, your sympathy for Mr Rose is misplaced and your attitude toward anti-CSG protesters is misguided.

    • Well Ossie… the truck driver was not in fact ‘doing his job’ which I believe was to take the toxic waste to Queensland… he took it to his own property…

      It seems Ossie that you have a problem understanding why protesters protest. You just don’t get it do you.

      Sadly you are not alone in not understanding protesters…. simply stated these people (protesters/Greenies) are genuinely concerned for the natural environment.

      I know your question before you ask it ….Why would they be?

      Easy… they don’t want to live in a polluted toxic place… pretty straight forward really … you know breath fresh unpolluted air… drink clear clean unpolluted/unmedicated fluoride free water… eat pesticide free, toxin free food.

      I know you and too many like you already do eat drink and breath toxins and think it is okay to… you don’t appreciate the rain forests or like them and probably think trees are a nuisance and native animals are pests.

      But that sort of living and thinking will get you no where… well actually it will make you sick and that is somewhere I guess.

  3. So the question is does Metgasco know that Mr Rose isn’t bothering to dispose of the drilling fluids legally? Are they vetting the people they employ at all? This is really very concerning. Metgasco should give Mr Elvey a reward for having brought this to light.

  4. This truck driver was definitely breaking the law and it just as well he was been monitor by protestors, l feel it should by passed by law to always monitor any truck driver carrying toxic waste to be dumped.


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