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Coal Seam Gas

The AGL Gloucester Milk Experiment

Can coal seam gas fracking company AGL be trusted to conduct experiments with our milk and beef?

29 December 2013 - In an extraordinary about face, coal seam gas fracking company AGL are now denying their press release of 19 November and what they stated on television, radio and in the print media.

On December 23rd, AGL's Mike Moraza & Murray Goulbourn/Devondale dairy farmer Mark Harris told ABC Rural Report journalist Kim Honan that she had "made a mistake" in reporting that dairy cattle had been fed with experimental fodder grown with fracking waste water (known as 'produced water') as part of their 'irrigation trial' at Gloucester NSW.

This will auto-play, click PAUSE if you want it to stop

ABC Radio Interview with Kim Honan
on the Rural Report, 24th December 2013 (right click on link and "Save As")

AGL and dairy farmer Harris are now denying feeding dairy cattle fodder grown with fracking waste water

AGL's Mike Moraza and dairy farmer Mark Harris discuss the "success" of growing fodder "to feed his cattle" using coal seam gas waste water from their fracking gas wells at Gloucester, NSW, Australia. This Prime 7 news broadcast went to air on 7th November, 2013.

The twitter exchange between Mark Anning and journalists Kim Honan (ABC radio) and Elizabeth Creasy (Prime 7) on December 24th 2013

It would appear that the gas company AGL were either telling the truth in November OR in December 2013.

AGL spruiks CSG irrigation for crops near Gloucester
20 Nov 2013 - ABC - "The gas company AGL is reporting success with a trial growing crops in Gloucester using water from coal seam gas wells.
Two types of livestock feed are grown on the property, using standard irrigation and so-called 'produced' water."

Mr Mike Moraza, AGL’s group general manager for upstream gas, wrote an opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald, published on Nov. 27, 2013.

"The results have exceeded our expectations, with more than six hectares of triticale – a winter wheat/rye crop – being harvested, and from that 65 tonnes sold to local farmers who needed livestock feed after a recent dry spell.

All farmers who bought the triticale were made fully aware this crop was irrigated with a blend of produced and fresh water (at a ratio of fresh to produced 3:1) yet it did not deter them in buying much-needed feed for their cattle" wrote Mike Moraza.

The Land reports on 26 December 2013 quotes “All the farmers and industry who came to us to buy the triticale knew exactly how it was irrigated; not one had an issue with it,” Mr Lenehan said.

“All the farmers and industry who came to us to buy the triticale knew exactly how it was irrigated; not one had an issue with it and bought the feed in small and large quantities,” Andrew said.

Can coal seam gas fracking company AGL be trusted to conduct experiments with milk from dairy cattle and feeding beef cattle with fracking waste water?

See AGL's list of fines, infringements and breaches of license at their Camden gas wells in 2013. There were even more the year before that and the year before that.

Accumulative effects of any contaminants.

Considering the risks of contamination to the human food chain, the delayed reporting and self monitoring of a gas company with a recent history of breaching EPA's coal seam gas monitoring requirements and large fines from ACCC for "deceptive conduct" - and now, denying what they claimed on radio, TV and in print just one month ago - we call on the EPA to immediately revoke AGL's permission to conduct further experiments that they call an "irrigation trial" at Gloucester.

The experiment was approved by the New South Wales Department of Trade and Investment (Division of Resources and Energy), the New South Wales Office of Water, and the Environment Protection Authority.

This screen shot of AGL's website admits "six monthly reports" on the results of their experiments on dairy cattle. The testing is done by AGL sub-contractors, not independent assessors.


Dairy Australia has stringent controls regarding animal feeds:
"Vendor declarations about the background and quality of the feed are supplied with consignments of feed to dairy farmers. The declaration includes information on the source of the feed, nutritional quality, chemicals used during growth and processing or potential for contamination through spray drift etc, testing status, and type of QA program used."

Given the experimental and risky nature of AGL's milk experiment, it is important to the integrity of the human food chain that testing be done on a more regular basis - in fact, daily - and that the testing be conducted by truly independent assessors rather than AGL's sub-contractors.

The bales of experimental fodder must be numbered and traced through to dairy & beef cattle farmers, and results be tested and reported on a regular basis in case of problems emerging with the milk and beef.

Given the fact that AGL want this experiment to continue and grow to more than ten times what it is now, food labelling should also be introduced allowing consumers the choice to participate in the gas companies' experiment.

According to Dairy Australia's website "risks from agricultural, veterinary and cleaning chemicals are minimised by using only chemicals registered by Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)".

AGL are desperate to establish credibility of "co-existence" after having been expelled from the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association and rejected by the equine thoroughbred studs in the region as being incompatible with those well established and sustainable industries.

Winemaker Bruce Tyrrell said of AGL: ‘Our industry has been in the Hunter for nearly 200 years and, along with wine tourism, we are a fully sustainable industry that can prosper for another 200 years and beyond. The CSG operators will be gone inside 50 years and no one knows how big a mess they will leave.’

This milk experiment puts a new meaning onto Devondale's advertising, doesn't it?

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