Friends of the Earth statement on onshore gas: The struggle continues

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On June 16, the Victorian Upper House voted on legislation to lift the moratorium on onshore gas development from June 30, 2021.

This is a heartbreaking outcome as the moratorium was the only protection communities and the natural world had from conventional onshore gas drilling.

But the fight is far from over.

Companies will not be able to apply for exploration licences until July 1, 2021. Then there is the approvals process, which takes time. We are likely at least two years away from any serious activity happening.

Community opposition will not go away.

It was the community of Seaspray that forced the Napthine government to enact the moratorium in 2014. This is because they were resolute in the face of attempts to drill for tight gas in their area, and they threatened peaceful protests and even a horse ride up Bourke Street to parliament.

Community members in Gippsland are still reeling from a delayed consultation process which took place just two weeks ago, and two months after the official report from the Victorian Gas Program was released. In Western Victoria the Protect the West Alliance, made up of farming communities, environmental groups, and locals concerned about the disruption of land water and communities recently released this statement in opposition to the lifting of the moratorium.

With all we know about climate science, the prospect of drilling new sources of gas looks like a worse decision than it was back in 2014.
Community resistance will happen when and where companies seek to develop onshore gas reserves. Friends of the Earth will be there to support them.

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South West VIC Community Responds to Scrapped Gas Ban

Community members in South West Victoria have responded to the lifting of the moratorium on onshore gas drilling. 

Members of the Protect the West Alliance from the Otways to Portland have collected over 1000 signatures on a petition calling for an extension of a ban on onshore gas exploration.

Premier Dan Andrews made the announcement to scrap the temporary ban on onshore gas drilling in March, one day after declaring a state of emergency in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yesterday, the Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill was moved in the Victorian parliament to formally lift the ban.  The Bill was met with criticism from The Victorian Greens, who noted that the Andrew’s government had significantly underestimated the environmental impact that an expansion of the gas industry would cause, and that the government was better off prioritising support towards growing the renewable energy sector (Renew Economy, 2 June 2020).

Community opposition to drilling remains strong across regional Victoria with over 70 communities declaring themselves 'gasfield free' as part of the campaign that also banned fracking.

 

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New gas projects will mean a failure on emissions reduction

Community members in Victoria's south west have collected over 1000 signatures on a petition calling for an extension of a ban on onshore gas exploration.

Community opposition to drilling remains strong across regional Victoria with over 70 communities declaring themselves 'gasfield free' as part of the campaign that also banned fracking.

The announcement to scrap the temporary ban on onshore gas drilling has come just as community members from local group Protect the West in the south west of the state prepared to submit over 1,000 signatures in opposition to a lifting of the ban to the Premier’s office.

 

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SNAP ACTION: Join our digital rally against fossil fuels in VIC

Join us for a digital snap rally

Our voices must not be silent in the face of the decision by Dan Andrews to scrap the onshore gas ban that puts our climate and our futures at risk.

The restrictions on public gatherings means we are deferring from the face-to-face actions and change the way protest happens to ensure we protect communities. 

That’s why we are calling on you to participate RIGHT NOW in our ‘DIGITAL SNAP ACTION’, by ‘checking in’ en-masse at the Premiers Office on Facebook.

Check in @Treasury Place with a selfie telling Dan Andrews why you think he has made the wrong call on with gas. (This needs to be done on a smart device like a phone, tablet, etc.)

We may not be able to protest in person, but we can still make our presence known!

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Gaslighting Victorians: Andrews fails on climate by expanding fossil fuels

VIC farmlands are again at risk as Andrews opens up gas mining

Friends of the Earth expressed its shock at the announcement by the Andrews government that it will scrap the moratorium protecting Victorian farmland from risky onshore gas drilling.

The premier announced that the moratorium will be lifted to allow gas production from July next year.

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Friends of the Earth response to the Liberal Nationals ‘Unlocking Victoria’s natural gas potential’ policy

Yesterday the Victorian Liberal Nationals opposition announced a new plan to ‘Unlock Victoria’s Natural Gas Potential’ in a policy which would scrap the current moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling in the state. 

Despite pledging support for the Andrew’s Government’s ban on unconventional gas drilling (fracking), and a right of veto for farmers, the new policy contradicts the party’s previous support for the moratorium when it was enacted in 2014.

The Coalition enacted the moratorium while they were in power in large part because of the strong opposition from farmers in regional Victoria to any form of gas drilling operations on agricultural land. 

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Report on the #ExtendtheMoratorium actions

Gippsland.jpgFrom 2011 until 2017, the Victorian community, especially regional communities in the south of the state, campaigned hard to win the ban on frackingand the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling.

While fracking (unconventional gas drilling) was banned permanently, a moratorium was placed on onshore conventional exploration and drilling. This has been in force since 2014, and will expire on June 30, 2020.

In the next few months, the state government will decide whether to extend the moratorium or let it lapse. Over the past year, the Victorian Gas Programhas been investigating what onshore gas resources exist. Once the final report is released (likely to happen within the next 3 months), the government will make a decision about the future of the moratorium. 

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Industry will face strong community opposition to push to 'rip up' gas drilling moratorium

MEDIA RELEASE: Friday 17 Jan
 
Industry will face strong community opposition to push to 'rip up' gas drilling moratorium

Industry is ramping up its campaign to have Victoria's moratorium on gas drilling ripped up, but Friends of the Earth says they will face strong community opposition.

"Communities fought long and hard to win a ban on fracking and moratorium on conventional gas drilling in Victoria, and will ," said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator.

Between 2011 and 2017, hundreds of thousands of community members in rural and regional Victoria campaigned for a permanent ban on fracking and moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling.

The unprecedented community campaign was so powerful that the government, opposition, and micro parties voted in support of protecting farmland from gas drilling.  

"Has industry forgotten the unprecedented community campaign to protect farmland and water from risky gas drilling?," asked Cam Walker.

"Developers should respect the fact that Victorians revoked the social licence for gas drilling."

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Defend the Gas Moratorium

Seaspray12.jpgFrom 2011 until 2017, the Victorian community, especially regional communities in the south of the state, campaigned hard to win the ban on fracking and the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling.

While fracking (unconventional gas drilling) was banned permanently, a moratorium was placed on onshore conventional exploration and drilling. This has been in force since 2014, and will expire on June 30, 2020.

In the next few months, the state government will decide whether to extend the moratorium or let it lapse. Over the past year, the Victorian Gas Program has been investigating what onshore gas resources exist. Once the final report is released (likely to happen within the next 3 months), the government will make a decision about the future of the moratorium. We have until March to build a strong voice demanding that the state government acts to protect our state by extending the onshore gas moratorium for another five years.

We are organising state wide actions over the weekend of February 8 and 9 to get the issue on the government’s radar.

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