Olivia slams CSG mining
AUSTRALIAN singing icon Olivia Newton John has embarked on a new role as outspoken environmental activist in a passionate open letter to the national media slamming the practise of coal seam gas mining, known as “fracking”.
In a letter that appeared in the national media yesterday, the singer – who owns two properties on the North Coast, including luxury health resort Gaia Retreat & Spa at Newrybar – has called for a national moratorium of coal seam gas exploration, claiming the hunt for coal-seam gas is “dangerous to the health of all Australians”.
The coal seam gas process involves hydraulic fracturing (known as fraccing or fracking) of shale rock by injecting water, sand and chemicals into the rock to release gas for energy use.
A growing alliance of farmers and environmentalists has called for an end to the practice, saying it contaminates the water table and uses cancer-producing chemicals.
“I respectfully request a national moratorium on the coal-seam gas exploration and mining in Australia until all health, social and environmental risks have been fully explored,” Ms Newton John said in the letter.
Ms Newton John described coal-seam gas exploration as “frightening”.
“Did you know that if a gas company thinks there is gas under your land, you do not have any legal right to stop them entering your land to explore it and, if you try to stop them, they can take you to court?” Ms Newton John said.
“And, when they finally leave your land, which could be 20 years from now, your property may be a toxic wasteland.”
Olivia Newton John told the media she expected criticism for her attack on coal seam gas mining, but said she wanted more Australians to realise the “potential environmental disaster going on around them”.
Local CSG campaigner Michael McNamara, CSG co-ordinator for the Northern Rivers Guardians and management committee member of the Lock the Gate Alliance, said yesterday he was “absolutely thrilled” Ms Newton John had spoken out.
“Someone of Olivia’s iconic status gives the issue higherpublicity and we would encourage more high-profile celebrities to speak out,” he said.
“They will be standing side-by-side with the community on this issue.”