Hello and welcome to the first No More Gas eBulletin for 2023!
This promises to be a critical year for shutting off gas for good. In Victoria the Government seems to appreciate that gas is bad but as yet has no solid plan to remove it from our energy matrix nor time frame for when we can finally see the back of the gas industry in Victoria. This is disappointing because even a muppet knows that we need to switch off gas and electrify everything.
There’s so much going on in the gas space at the moment so let’s jump right in to unpacking the good, the bad and the fugly of gas issues.
This year the No More Gas collective goes into overdrive in a statewide campaign of political engagement, and
Casting call - three households which want to get off gas!
In the coming weeks we’re shooting a short ad highlighting the reasons that people want to get off gas and asking for government support to make their homes zero carbon and comfortable. We need householders who want to ditch gas for health, economic and climate reasons. WANT TO BE INTERNET FAMOUS FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS? Please reply to this email ASAP if you’re happy to say a few words on camera and think you can be free in the next few weeks.
Active supporters meeting
To find out more and learn how you can be involved in this groundswell against fossil gas we’d love to have you come to our first monthly supporters’ meeting at 6:30pm Wednesday 1 March. These meetings will be held at the same time on the first Wednesday of every month as we build strength in our grassroots community to help end gas in Victoria. RSVP here!
Visit your local MP
Our Community Gas Retirement Roadmap, released late last year, now needs to be taken to every Member of the Victorian Parliament with a checklist of which of our recommendations they would (or wouldn’t) support, or don’t know enough about to say. This action is critical in our work challenging the gas industry in this, the heaviest domestic gas-using state in the country.
Get off gas campaign rollout
As if all of that isn’t enough, we’re preparing the Get Off Gas (for good!) pledge, inviting all Victorians using gas in their homes to pledge to get off gas and urging the energy minister and their local MP to support them with funded efficiency retrofits and appliance switching.
We will invite you to an online launch in the coming months, followed by town hall events in key areas where help is most needed. We are looking for people to:
Help us organise town hall local launch events for the Get Off Gas pledge in the following locations:
- Ferntree Gully
- Phone bank our supporters to deliver copies of our roadmap and invite people to town hall events
It really will take all of us to make the shift needed to convince our politicians that it’s time to switch off gas in favour of more efficient homes powered by renewable energy.
If the only help you can offer is financial, we'll take it!
DONATE NOW YOU EPIC HUMAN!
Our suspicions that the industry had no plans to recycle the steel from decommissioned platforms and pipelines has been confirmed in a number of meetings with the gas extraction industry. Some estimates say about 14 Sydney Harbour Bridges' worth of steel will soon be dumped on the ocean floor, as old gas and oil platforms reach the end of their productive lives and the industry moves to decommission them. ExxonMobile (trading in Australia as Esso) has the biggest immediate decommissioning job, with about a dozen offshore platforms in Bass Strait being retired and removed in the coming years.
Although that company has confirmed that it will remove and scrap the ‘topsides’ of these platforms (the part above the waterline) at yet-to-be-identified onshore sites, they have also said their preference is to cut and dump the huge steel legs (or ‘jackets’) onto the sea bed. Friends of the Earth is running a campaign called #RecycleTheRigs to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE
We’re also in the process of raising the issue of decommissioning oil and gas rigs with federal parliamentarians. Australia will lose more than $50 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years as the fossil fuel industry claims decommissioning costs on tax. A number of Greens parliamentarians have promised to ask some questions about it for us in Senate Estimates committee hearings, and we have a meeting lined-up with the office of the Resources Minister, Madeleine King, early next month.
Beach Energy may be breach energy
We have learned that Beach Energy, the company behind the onshore to offshore drilling under Port Campbell National Park into the ocean near the Twelve Apostles have commenced operations to connect their four well pads in the Otway Basin. To our knowledge at time of sending local stakeholders including the Gunditjmara community have not been approached by Beach Energy for the required consultation.
Seismic shift update
After taking a break over the summer our seismic shift meetings which pull together campaigners from around a dozen orgs, big and small resumed in late January with the news that seismic blasting company Schlumberger still have not met with Traditional Owners as they are required to do as part of the approvals process. We do know that Schlumberger, a company bigger than McDonalds despite being less well known, are currently under investigation with the Federal Department of Prosecutions considering criminal charges for “serious matters” as yet undisclosed. To find out more have a look at what happened in Senate Estimates last week (scroll to 17:05:31 to see the punchy grilling Senator Peter Whish-Wilson gave offshore petroleum regulator NOPSEMA on this whole mess) - and it’s not connected with Schlumberger conducting seismic blasting over an old WW1 weapons dump in 2020.
Meanwhile in the last week we have learned about two other companies with plans to start seismic blasting operations in the Otway Basin - ConocoPhillips and Regia. We will monitor procedings with keen interest and in particular pressure all companies involved to ensure that consultation is thorough across all relevant stakeholders.
In the news
In news that will surprise nobody, the gas industry has been found to routinely under-report methane emissions from their offshore operations. Our own Jeff Waters has pointed to the extent of the concerns this raises for climate and environmental health both domestically and internationally.
The bullying and price gouging allegations continue as the gas industry works together to remove government barriers to continued domestic gas price inflation without government restriction.
Jeff Waters brought attention to the dangers that gas exploration in NSW coastal areas will have on whale migration to Queensland affecting both marine patterns and an industry worth more than $100 million dollars in Queensland alone.
In a stark demonstration that gas is a health danger that has no place in our public and private environments, a gas leak in a public school in Gladstone Queensland lead to 14 students and two adults being hospitalised.
Thanks for reading and for your continued support. We look forward to meeting more of you in our supporter meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday 1 March and look forward to working together to deliver better health, energy and economic outcomes for Victoria.
For the Earth,
No More Gas campaign coordinator
We run on the smell of a (vegetable) oily rag - please support our work!
I acknowledge that wherever we are we are living and working on stolen land and in deep respect of First Nations Peoples everywhere. This newsletter written and posted from Wurundjeri-Woi Wurrung land in the Kulin nation.