Tweed CAN (Tweed Climate Action Now) has learned from public documents that coal seam gas (CSG) exploration companies in the northern rivers are linked to ERM Power, a major fossil fuel energy company trading in electricity produced from coal and gas.
ERM is financed by banks and institutional investors. Through subsidiaries, banks such as the Commonwealth Bank have directed superannuation funds, including funds of employees, into millions of ERM shares.
The CSG companies in this area are waiting for favourable regulations, but they also have a relationship with ERM and the funding it can leverage from major banks.
The northern rivers area is strongly opposed CSG mining with many areas declared ‘gas free’ by over 90 per cent of residents.
Australia has huge gas reserves but consumers here still have to pay world parity prices so there is very little economic benefit.
Companies today are structured to maximise profits and minimise responsibility.
Will ERM guarantee to repair any air or water table pollution? Will the Commonwealth Bank pay for climate damage?
Tweed CAN and the Northern Rivers Guardians (NRG) are organising a divestment information night at the Imperial Hotel in Murwillumbah on March 10 from 7pm-8.30pm.
We are giving people the information to switch their accounts into banks or credit unions that have ethical investment policies that do not encourage expansion of fossil fuel use.
Companies may want to exploit coal seam gas but that does not mean they can use our money to do it.
Notes: Companies with Petroleum and Gas exploration applications in the northern rivers area include Metgasco (PEL 13,16), Summerland Way Energy (PELA 135) and Clarence Morton Resources ( PSAPP 48). ERM power is a major shareholder in Metgasco and a joint venture partner with the other two companies. ERM is also a major shareholder in Red Sky Energy.
Greg Reid, tweedcan.org.au