Letter by Alan Buchan to Lock the Gate Alliance Inc.

‎Alan Buchan‎
Lock the Gate Alliance Inc

In response to the statements made by Narrabri Chamber Of Commerce president, Russell Stewart and the ‘Yes To Gas’ spokeswoman, Louise Tout, (reported in the Northern Daily Leader, today), I feel compelled to share the letter I wrote in response, in the interests of transparency and balance:

Dear Louise,
I read your statements in the paper today and I just want to touch base with you if I may.
I moved my family to COONABARABRAN recently and we live close to the Pillliga Santos site. I suppose you could call me a blow-in but my wife’s family has lived here for generations. I’m a fourth generation Australian myself, of Scottish descent. My father’s father’s father came to Australia in 1881 as a ships carpenter. I’ve lived most of my life in Queensland but don’t hold that against me haha! I’ve seen the damage that gas mining can do here in Australia, where a 300 kilometre region has recently been declared a no-go zone because of the gas mining industry stuff-ups and in America too, where things are really getting seriously bad.

My family drinks the water that comes up out of the ground at our property outside Coonabarabran. It’s clean, safe drinking water because it’s been filtered through sandstone, it’s natural and it’s delicious! My little boy drinks it and he’s only 3. We don’t get town water on our property. My two daughters aged 8 and 10 drink the water as does my wife and we also grow our own veggies and fruit on our property, too. So we rely on the local agriculture and underground water for our survival.
Santos has already poisoned the aquifer (twice) on the Pilliga and they’ve only really just begun their operations there. The gas mining company responsible for the big problems in Queensland is called LINC ENERGY and the area they polluted is roughly the same radius of area as from Coonabarabran to Moree!!! That includes Narrabri. The company is now facing fines totalling over 32 MILLION dollars. Imagine being told that Narrabri must be evacuated and never to return.

Can you imagine that?? This pollution only happened just a couple of years ago and it’s being called the biggest act of environmental vandalism in Australia, ever. Workers are getting seriously sick, now, as a result of the poison they were exposed to, which led to the pollution. This whole thing is hitting the fan right now in the courts and could possibly end up being bigger than the James Hardie asbestos scandal, that’s how serious this gas problem can become.

So I’m just wondering what gives you the confidence to make such statements as these: “Narrabri has relied on agriculture for a long time and this is an opportunity to have another industry in our area which we believe will make us an economically stronger shire” and “Narrabri is not going to grow or move forward if we stay as we are.” To which I’ve got a couple of questions for you in reply, please Louise: Are you saying that agriculture is less important than jobs? Are you saying that Narrabri needs Santos in order to move forward? Is moving forward more important that having safe drinking water and food? How will Narrabri survive, if the agriculture industry on which it has relied for generations, gets polluted by Santos stuffing up the underground irrigation water source?? Are you a blow-in yourself or have you lived here for several generations? Did your father’s father live in Narrabri?

In closing, I feel compelled to encourage you to read the following article and keep an eye on the proceedings of this case. Investigate the gas industry for yourself. When it goes wrong, it gets really, really bad. Look closely at the risks and don’t be blinded by what the gas companies tell you. They only have profit in mind. Please read this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/…/91eadb1920d822d97b8c176f0…

Looking forward to your reply,

Yours sincerely,
Al Buchan

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