Edition #96 - August 2011

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Australia
Monthly electronic bulletin
Late August 2011, Edition [# 96]



Once again its been a fair gap between newsletters, simply a reflection of how busy things have been.

Attached is a quick summary of some of our recent key work. Our court case against the Xstrata coal mine in Queensland is especially big news at present. We are also launching a major campaign against CSG in Victoria shortly.

Wishing you the best

1/ national campaigns

  • FoE takes Wandoan MEGA coal mine to court
  • Please support our CSG campaign
  • Withdrawal of coal and CSG applications in Victoria a great outcome
  • 'Wind Energy, Myths and facts' animated film released
  • Lets get the Victorian Premier focused on renewable energy
  • Call for Victorian government to ban coal seam gas mining
  • CSG roadshow, Central and western Victoria
  • building community support for wind energy in NSW
  • Art Auction fundraiser (Melbourne, Oct 9)
  • Adelaide activist skillshare (Sept 2 - 4)
  • Jobs available at FoE

2/ action alerts

  • Support wind energy in NSW
  • Stop the destruction of Sumava National Park, Czech Republic

3/ international news

  • Friends of the Earth International calls for Shell to be held to account


>> FoE takes Wandoan MEGA coal mine to court

You may be aware that at present we have a case in the QLD Land Court over the proposal by mining giant Xstrata to open a huge coal mine at Wandoan.

We lodged the objection with the Land Court due to the colossal carbon emissions that will come from the mine.

Each year the proposed Xstrata coal mine will extract 30 million tonnes of coal and cause 47 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution, a sizable 0.15% of annual global emissions.

If the mine goes ahead, it will be one of the largest coal mines in the world.
We are currently in the middle of the actual case.

For details and updates, please check here:

Wandoan T-Shirts

Want to support our case against Xstrata? Start some interesting conversations and donate to a good cause by buying a shirt!

We have loose and fitted styles available in a variety of sizes for $25 each.

The shirts are sweatshop free and locally printed and all proceeds go towards helping offset the costs of taking legal action!

Email [email protected] to order a shirt.

>> Please support our CSG campaign

Anyone who has seen the ‘Gasland’ documentary will know the many risks attached to coal seam gas (CSG) operations.

What you may not be aware of is the fact that there are plans to drill more than 40,000 CSG wells in Queensland alone.

This is the early stages of an industry that has a massively destructive impact on local land and communities and an enormous greenhouse footprint.

But it is also an industry that is being resisted tooth and nail by affected communities.
Friends of the Earth has been a leading force in the community opposition to the roll out of CSG in Queensland. We are absolutely pivotal to the broad based and determined resistance that has been happening in places like Tara on the Darling Downs. We are a key member of the Lock the Gate Alliance, a national grouping of more than 80 organisations.

We urgently need to raise $6,000 to keep our involvement in this campaign going.

If you can help support our work in any way, please check here: http://www.foe.org.au/climate-justice/media/news-items/2011/please-support-our-csg-campaign

You can donate here: http://foe.org.au/donate/product_info.php?cPath=1_35&products_id=83

>> Withdrawal of coal and CSG applications in Victoria a great outcome

In the second community victory in a month, Mecrus Resources, the mining company who had applied for exploratory mineral mining licences throughout SW Victoria, has taken Coal Seam Gas and Coal off the list of resources they will explore for.

We believe this is a wonderful outcome: for the local community, the environment, and common sense. The time for investment in new coal is long over. The community does not want CSG operations in this state.

FoE was proud to have played a part in this outcome

You can see our full response here:

>> 'Wind Energy, Myths and facts' animated film released.

A reminder of the bigger picture: renewables vs fossil fuels

'Wind Energy, Myths and facts' is a short animated film which has been created in response to the common myths and confusions that threaten the future development of wind farms.

Wind farms have been seen by some as being invasive and even threatening to public health. By separating science from speculation, this film aims to reduce the spread of anxieties associated with wind turbines. It was also made with the hope that in considering individual wind farm proposals, we will remember that the current health and environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels are far worse than anything that can be found resulting from wind turbines.

The film has been produced by Pablo Tochez Anderson.

'Wind Energy, Myths and facts' has been produced as part of Friends of the Earth's Yes 2 Renewables project.

The film can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/FriendsOfTheEarthAUS

Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP-KlpLQOJU

>> Lets get the Victorian Premier focused on renewable energy

Recently, the Weekly Times  [ http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2011/08/03/364485_print_friendly_article.html  ] has reported that Premier Baillieu had taken control of delivering the Coalition's election promise on wind energy. This is consistent with what we have been hearing.

It appears that the government still intends to implement the remaining aspects of their policy in the spring and summer sessions of parliament. Which means we have very little time to ramp up the level of pressure on the Premier.

We need to demonstrate that a majority of the Victorian people see the need to support appropriately sited wind energy.

We will be letter boxing in Ted’s electorate in coming weeks.

If you would like to help, please contact Ben: [email protected]

If you have not signed our postcard to the Premier, please do so, you can send a message here: http://yes2renewables.org/2011/01/10/action-alert-keep-wind-energy-going-strong-in-victoria/

If you can help distribute postcards in your community, workplace or via your networks please contact Ben.

>> Call for Victorian government to ban coal seam gas mining

As Victoria faces a wave of exploration licenses for coal seam gas (CSG), coal, and shale gas, there is a growing community movement against this spreading industry.

In response, FoE has called on the government of Ted Baillieu to act rapidly to ban any further coal, CSG or other on-land gas developments until a full assessment has been made of the likely social and environmental impacts of these industries.

You can find our full release here: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/983

>> CSG roadshow

Central and western Victoria, Sept - October 2011.

This spring FoE will be organising a series of speaking events to highlight the threat poised by Coal Seam Gas (CSG), coal, and shale gas across rural Victoria.

It will feature Drew Hutton from Queensland.

Drew is a leading figure in the campaign against CSG in that state, is the key spokesperson for Friends of the Earth on the issue, and the president of the Lock the Gate Alliance.

We hope to use the roadshow to highlight the risks of new fossil fuel expansion to landscapes, communities and climate change.

We hope to build on our call for the state government to ban all new fossil fuel projects. See here for full details: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/983

If you may be interested in hosting a local meeting, please get in touch asap. Cam: [email protected] or 0419 338 047.

For details on our campaign, please check here:

>> building community support for wind energy in NSW

Federal Member for Hume Alby Schultz is pushingfor a moratoriumn on all wind farms in the electorate of Hume in NSW. This will have serious implications for regional economies in Hume and, more broadly, the environment as it would lock off a large area which is very suitable ‘wind country’. Hume is largely a mixed agricultural economy, with strong farming traditions based on mixed farming, grazing, fat lambs, fruit, vegetables, wine, timber and textiles. Wind farming can add significant direct income to these practises.

From July 19 til 21, we visited towns in the area from Yass to Crookwell and Boorowa, and down through the Yass Valley projects, to meet with people who do support appropriately sited wind energy projects.

You can find our report on the trip here: http://yes2renewables.org/2011/07/14/building-community-support-for-wind-energy-in-nsw/

>> Art Auction fundraiser

The Friends of the Earth Anti-nuclear and Clean Energy Collective (ACE) is holding it’s annual art auction on Sunday 9th October. The auction is a fundraiser for the ACE campaign and to raise money for the keep Muckaty nuclear free campaign (BNI). We would also like to raise funds for the travel costs for International & Australian Indigenous people to attend the BHP AGM in Melbourne this year.

Featured Artists Daniel Boyd, Kate Smith, Trevelyan Clay, Masato Takasaka, Christopher LG Hill, Jake Walker, Amber Wallis & more

Speaker: Dave Sweeney from Conservation Foundation Australia

Auctioneer: David Hansen from Sotheby’s Australia

Sunday 9th October at Utopian Slumps, 33 Guildford Lane Melbourne 3000.

Viewing and drinks start 4pm
Auction begins 5pm.

Tim Price 0407 914 173 [email protected] or
Tully McIntyre 0410 388 187 [email protected]

>> Adelaide activist skillshare

The theme of the 2011 Adelaide activist skillshare will be: ‘Artivism’: get your creative juices flowing for change.

It will be held at Longwood Camp, nestled in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.
From 5pm Friday night - 2nd September, and until 4pm on Sunday - 4th September 2011.

The skillshare will offer interactive workshops and seminars (see program for more information). There will be group team building activities, exclusive film screenings of incredible documentaries, guided night bush walks, a camp fire to keep you warm at night, and of course an incredible mix of amazing people to learn and grow with.

Full details here:

>> Jobs available at FoE

We have two positions available at the South Melbourne Commons in Melbourne, a Commons Manager and Food Co-Op Manager.

The position desciptions will be on our national website later today.

2/ action alerts

Support wind energy in NSW

You may have heard NSW premier Barry O'Farrell recently remarked that he believes no more wind farms should be approved across NSW.

Currently, the Planning Assessment Commission is reviewing the planning guidelines for the siting of wind turbines in NSW. The Member for Burrinjuck, Katrina Hodgson, has stated that she has been meeting with the anti-wind power 'Landscape Guardians' when she announced the review (as reported in the Crookwell Gazette). This follows Federal MP for Hume, Alby Schultz, stating that he wants wind farms banned from his whole electorate (one of the best areas in the state for wind farms).

The Victorian Liberals were elected last year with promises to enact a mandatory setback distance of 2km between wind turbines and residences, and to ban wind farms from key areas of the state. In NSW, where not many wind farms have yet received planning approval, similar policies could be disastrous for the growth of the renewable energy sector.

We have a suggested letter you could sign, and change to your own wording if you like, and send to state MPs. In particular, we would suggest you send it to the Premier, the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Brad Hazzard, and your local MP. We have included several other ministers and regional MPs you may wish to also write to if you choose.

If you do send a letter, it would help if you also email me with notification so we know how many letters are being sent in.

Thank you in advance, and hopefully some community common sense will prevent a disaster for renewable energy when the new policy is brought out.

The letter is available here: http://www.foe.org.au/climate-justice/media/news-items/2011/building-community-support-for-wind-energy-in-nsw

Stop the destruction of Sumava National Park, Czech Republic

Please join Friends of the Earth Czech Republic in calling on their government to abandon plans to cut down large areas of previously protected forest rich in biodiversity and home to endangered wildlife.

There is an action alert here:


We are active in 77 countries. Please check our international website for details: http://www.foei.org

Friends of the Earth International calls for Shell to be held to account

Friends of the Earth International welcomes the report that has been released by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) that reveals the true extent of the environmental devastation caused by fifty years of oil operations in Ogoniland, Nigeria.

We are shocked by the size and severity of the oil spills the report uncovers and their consequences. It is dramatic that, 18 years after oil production stopped in the region, the Ogoni are still suffering from severe oil pollution.
The report confirms Friends of the Earth International's long-held belief that Shell has not only failed to meet the environmental guidelines and standards for petroleum industries in Nigeria (EGASPIN) but also its own standards.
The fact that Shell Nigeria is not working according to Nigerian, International and Shell standards raises doubts about the priority the oil giant gives to the environment and the well being of Nigerians.

Our full response is here: http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2011/friends-of-the-earth-international-call-for-shell-to-be-held-to-account

Further information on FoEA.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Australia is a federation of 12 independent local groups and 8 affiliate groups who are working towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable future.

Through a combination of research, community outreach, direct action, lobbying and offering positive alternatives, FoE seeks to work in alliances with other like-minded groups and individuals to achieve the necessary social change which will allow for environmental protection with full protection for the rights of all people.

Although the bulk of the work of FoE is carried out by the local groups, we also have a number of national campaigns and projects. In 2011, these include the nuclear & clean energy, and climate justice campaigns and the Indigenous land and rights, environment and population, nanotechnology, and water projects.

To financially support our work, please see:

You can find us on social media sites here:


http://twitter.com/sixde6rees - the coal campaign at FoE Brisbane  


There are a number of other email bulletins produced by FoE:

Local groups newsletters:
    For people living in Victoria, there is a fortnightly email bulletin: you can subscribe at: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/ or by emailing Justin: [email protected]
    For people living in Queensland, there is a regular email bulletin: you can subscribe at: http://www.brisbane.foe.org.au/
    For people living in South Australia, there is a regular email bulletin: you can subscribe by emailing Shani: [email protected]

national campaigns & projects:
    There is a national nuclear campaign newsletter: to subscribe, email Jim Green [email protected]
    To subscribe to the nanotechnology project newsletter, contact Georgia Miller: [email protected]
    To subscribe to the climate justice monthly email newsletter, contact Cam, with SUBSCRIBE CLIMATE JUSTICE in the subject line. [email protected]

FoE Australia has a national liaison office:
Box 222, Fitzroy, 3065.
Ph 03 -9419 8700
Fax 03 - 9416 2081
Email: [email protected]

See: http://www.foe.org.au/about-us/starting-a-friends-of-the-earth-group
for details on starting a FoE group.

For any enquiries about this list, including change of address details, please contact Cam: [email protected]