Sabotaging the coal economy

Elements of the environmental movement have engaged in a campaign against fossil fuel in general and coal in particular. Two years ago a document setting out an anti-coal in Queensland strategy was leaked to the AFR.

Our  strategy is essentially to ‘disrupt and delay’ key projects and  infrastructure while gradually eroding public and political  support for the industry and continually building the power  of the movement to win more.
There are 6 elements to this strategy:
1. Disrupt and delay key infrastructure Challenge and delay key infrastructure developments (ports and  rail) and ‘mega mines’.
2. Constrain the space for mining Build on the outrage created by coal seam gas to win federal  and state based reforms to exclude mining from key areas,  such as farmland, nature refuges, aquifers, and near homes.  Landowners locking the gate.
3. Increase investor risk Create uncertainty and a heightened perception of risk over coal  investments;
4. Increase costs Increasing the cost of coal is fundamental to the long-term global  strategy to phase out the industry. We can start to remove the  massive subsidies to the coal industry, and to internalize the  ‘externalized’ costs of coal;
5. Withdraw the social license of the coal industry Change the story of coal from being the backbone of our  economy, to being a destructive industry that destroys the  landscape and communities, corrupts our democracy, and  threatens the global climate.
6. Build a powerful movement Create stronger networks and alliances and build the power  necessary to win larger victories over time.

This morning the Queensland Resources Council provided an update of actual implementation and progress to date on the strategy:

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche today released a checklist of coordinated activism aimed at shutting down Queensland’s export coal and gas industries.

‘Two years after the strategy document Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom was leaked to the media, it is valuable to see how the anti-coal (and coal-seam gas) campaign has unfolded in Queensland,’ he said.

‘For example, the strategy of mounting legal challenges to disrupt or delay new projects is well recorded with appeals in the Queensland Land Court over the Alpha coal mine project in central Queensland from a Canberra resident and an interest group with a postal address in Brisbane’s West End.

‘Tactics for the so-called ‘Battle of the Galilee’ include organising landowners to help delay the development of mines and railways while noting the location of coal ports adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is seen as an opportunity for ‘alliance building’ with scientists and industries including fishing and tourism.

‘The signatories to the strategy document have all contributed to campaigns high on slogans but void of science to support claims that shipping and port dredging are major threats to the environmental health of the Great Barrier Reef,’ he said.

The update can be downloaded here.

QRC 1
QRC 2

(HT: AD)

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50 Responses to Sabotaging the coal economy

  1. JC

    This is economic sabotage pure and simple. Firms should have the right to sue if this garbage causes financial distress… and the right to sue personally.

  2. CameronH

    How can this type of deliberate sabotage be legal? If it was an opposing energy supply industry such as the gas industry, engaged in this I assume that there would be quite serious legal ramifications. Why is this allowed to continue and where is the courage needed from our elected representatives?

  3. johanna

    Don’t forget the dickhead who tried to sabotage the Maules Creek coal project in NSW by spreading lies about the company’s financial viability, causing the share price to fall until the misinformation was corrected. He was quite open about his intentions.

    There are still a bunch of crusties protesting there, with the enthusiastic support of Lee Rhiannon.

    BTW, how on earth can someone who lives in the ACT have standing to legally challenge a Queensland coal development?

  4. stackja

    Chief Executive, Queensland Resources Council Director – Michael Roche

    Mr Roche is an economist by profession and held senior management positions with the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney before returning to Queensland in 2005.

    His previous positions included Deputy Director-General of the Queensland Cabinet Office and Chief of Staff to the Queensland Treasurer.

  5. twostix

    They’ve been trying to kickstart the “Exposing the Helath Impacts” strategy here since the paper came out. Lots of reports on the local green-leftist news along the lines of “new studies show that coal dust may be harmful”, etc.

    It isn’t getting traction.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    ‘Tactics for the so-called ‘Battle of the Galilee’

    I hope they meet their Vespasian. He was slightly harsh with the last lot.

    I am not advocating violence, only stern rule of law and long custodial sentences.

  7. I am not advocating violence, only stern rule of law and long custodial sentences.

    +1

  8. Ed

    By the way, there are activists running around inside the Liberal Party, implementing number 6 in the six point strategy. They’re doing it quite openly, in my opinion.

  9. .

    If they are committing fraud then they ought to go to gaol for a very long time.

  10. Rabz

    This is an utterly unacceptable, anti-civilizationist agenda being pursued by a criminal, unrepresentative, lunatic ratbag fringe (BIRM).

    Enough.

    Shut. Them. Down.

    Gaol. Them. All.

  11. wazsah

    I am no lawyer but I doubt we have specific laws on the books with this type of national sabotage in mind. I suppose most action to keep industry open would be taken under State laws.
    Is there a need for Commonwealth law where exports are at stake?
    Taking a longer view though – we are all paying for the rise of the Greens which has been facilitated by the way the media has willingly repeated Green exaggerations and lies for a few decades. There has been a huge and ongoing failure of industry and Govt science to speak out for a balanced view.
    Take the current CSG scare near Narrabri re SANTOS exploration where the NSW EPA has published figures for uranium and arsenic in groundwater that it must have known would have been beaten up in the media them magnified again by the Greens. You had to first ask for the EPA report – wait a week for it – then read several pages in to see that the dammed CSG drilling fluids carried negligible U and As which actually derived from being present naturally in local soils. I do not hear SANTOS or the NSW Resources Dept speaking out with the balanced science as they should. I am sure dozens of similar cases could be dug out.

  12. Helen

    Withdraw the social license of the coal industry Change the story of coal from being the backbone of our economy, to being a destructive industry that destroys the landscape and communities, corrupts our democracy, and threatens the global climate.

    We are facing the same thing in agriculture, be it live ex or grazing – not so sure about cropping.

    I believe this is a long and well thought out campaign, get us to acknowledge we need some sort of ‘social licence’ in order to operate, then once we agree, to tighten the thumb screws on what ever it is we do they want to change or stop, live export or more land to conservation or what ever, they refuse to recognise that grass is a renewable resource.

    Our problems as farmers are

    1. we are too busy doing what we really want to do, driving tractors or rounding up cows to pay much attention to what is happening on the sidelines.

    2. we do not naturally group together – our nature is to be away from the others, that is part of why we like to farm and why farm tourism is not a big hit with us generally.

    3. Trust. We and others who we elect to lead us by and large trust the words of those we talk with. It stems from the hand shake deals of the past, which are still used in the bush. In fact we just did a handshake deal with a mining company. It is sad that green groups have no concept of the beauty of this this and see this as more a weakness to be exploited.
    Because of the above, decisions can be taken and made with little input from us and it is not until things are heading well down the track that we rear up and say woah back there!

    This happened with Global Warming – NFF and MLA were well down the road of acceptance and acquiescence until the NTCA had Jo Nova to talk – and that gave us permission to ask the questions, to speak, to disagree. (Mind you I had a huge fight to get Jo on the talk list for the AGM) Then we ran some models and guess what – it was going to send us broke.

    My feeling is this idea of social licence is some thing the same. What is it? Who sets the parameters, who judges if a level of compliance has been reached? It is all so nebulous you cannot catch it, like trying to hold greased smoke and while the greens have the power (given over to them) to set the dialogue, it will always be at farmer’s expense.

  13. Helen

    Sorry first para above should have been in quotes – please adjust reading.

  14. .

    2. we do not naturally group together – our nature is to be away from the others, that is part of why we like to farm and why farm tourism is not a big hit with us generally.

    But, but, if you have a bird watching rail trail eco adventure funded by all kinds of departments and NGOs, veritable rivers of gold will flow!

  15. Chistery

    The overarching CFMEU view is tht the risks posed by anthropogenic climate change require concerted action to reduce global greenhouse gas emmissions. In that context the continued use of fossil fuesls in power generation and other industry is contingent on fossil fuel use becoming a low emission activity.

    Go on, keep believing that’s going to happen sometime soon. Anyway ..

    History has had some great deniers. But they were wrong. And now Tony Abbott has joined them.

    Ah, nice. If it doesn’t happen, we’ll blame Tony Abbott.

    These clowns have no idea who their enemy really is.

  16. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I doubt we have specific laws on the books with this type of national sabotage

    Treason?

  17. wazsah

    Helen – you said – [In fact we just did a handshake deal with a mining company.]
    Can you say what State?

  18. entropy

    I believe Helen is NT based.

  19. twostix

    My feeling is this idea of social licence is some thing the same. What is it? Who sets the parameters, who judges if a level of compliance has been reached? It is all so nebulous you cannot catch it, like trying to hold greased smoke and while the greens have the power (given over to them) to set the dialogue, it will always be at farmer’s expense.

    “Social License” is whatever the urban political left says it is at any given time and its enforcement is controlled by their NGO’s and their captured bureaucracies with the force of their legislation to be used exclusively against their enemies.

  20. twostix

    Thatchers “There’s no such think as society” speech is the antidote to the not-so-new concept that the Australian left are trying to push now of a collectivist idea of a “social license”.

    As an aside does anyone doubt with the obscene levels of corruption and thuggery from the unions over the last couple of years that unions, by the lefts definition of “social license” haven’t lost theirs?

    Yet there’s nothing but crickets from the left on that matter.

  21. Blogstrop

    None of this comes as a surprise. Our nation, along with a number of other western democracies, has been weakened by the multiple viruses of the left. A tipping point has been passed, and there is now no effective way back that doesn’t involve the overthrow of a cartload of PC nostrums. Britain and America are further down this slippery slope. The cure … Up for discussion. I assume this is where the original post is pointing.

  22. entropy

    This has been discussed many times before, but sticking ‘social, in front of a word is designed to change the meaning of the word, or delegitimise it.
    Thus social license means that even if a business as worked its way through all the regulatory hurdles, EIS processes, fees and licensing arrangements needed to develop a project, if an activist doesn’t like it it doesn’t have any legitimacy.

  23. Walter Plinge

    Social license, like “social justice” just means Marxism.

  24. squawkbox

    On the basis of those documents, surely the courts should declare the ‘environmental’ organisations concerned vexatious litigants?

  25. Ellen of Tasmania

    I believe this is a long and well thought out campaign, get us to acknowledge we need some sort of ‘social licence’ in order to operate, then once we agree, to tighten the thumb screws on what ever it is we do they want to change or stop,

    This is Tasmania. As to whether they have the legal right to do it, the greens have used the courts very affectively against Tasmanians and our government. When that hasn’t worked (think pulp mill) they go directly to investors threatening to boycott not just the pulp mill (or whatever it may be), but any other businesses owned by those investors.

    When the ‘Forest Deal’ was being negotiated, green groups got to sit at the table with government and businesses. That meant that greenies got represented twice, once with their elected members and again with the environmental groups. Why were they there? So that any agreement would include an agreement by them not to use the above tactics.

    Even before the election results came in on Saturday night the greens were threatening to disrupt any changes that they didn’t approve of.

    How do you beat them? How do you grow an economy if you don’t?

  26. Myrddin Seren

    An anecdote.

    I was just called by the NSW Liberal Party in respect of ongoing donation with a view to the next state election.

    I forcefully told the poor unfortunate on the other end of the call that I cannot offer the requested support because:

    I am currently unemployed;

    that one of the reasons I and so many of my professional colleagues are ( the hidden/non-Centrelink ) unemployed is because the NSW Govt simply does not get the contribution of the resources sector;

    this includes the Premier – my local member and an otherwise nice guy who simply sees large scale contested economic activity that enjoys little good publicity and lots of bad publicity, including from the likes of Alan Jones, and so is ambivalent at best;

    that the lack of support from government was killing the sector in NSW ; and

    in doing so the NSW Liberal Party was killing it’s base.

    Rant over, the call centre dude told me I was the third person today to tell him the same thing.

    Who needs radical Greens when almost the entire political class can’t wait for mining and smelting to close so their daily press briefings stop having rants from Alan Jones in them ?!

    Further rant over – we now resume normal Cat service. ( I might write some emails )

  27. Fred Lenin

    Attack the green “activites”financially, no centrelink,nocushy well paid government “jobs” .Tax political donations to All parties,defund greenist groups ,No Money No Activites! And jail all lawbreakers ,no Namby Pamby rubbish,jail their lawyers(Liars) too for trying to mislead the courts that Liar of thompsons should be jauled ,he knows bloody well the Grub is guilty as hell!

  28. Helen

    NT Wazsah; it is not a public company and the agreements it is reaching with us landholders are groundbreaking. Miners are calling them up from around the world saying – how did you do it? But I cannot say more – yet.

    I can say it is a refreshingly real example of what private enterprise P2P can achieve, without the bottlenecks of boards and other structures which just constrict decision making.

  29. Blogstrop

    Surely there’s someone from the gas industry who can tell Jones how they operate and get him off the topic?

  30. john constantine

    –create a link in the public mind between bolt and racism,create a link in the public mind between abbott666 and homophobia,create a link in the public mind between tories and baby stomping

  31. john constantine

    social licence means control without ownership. it is nice to have farmers markets where niche producers can sell bootloads of artisan organic produce. the social licence to farm demands no gmo no pesticides no fungicides no herbicides no fertiliser no animals for meat no animals for eggs no animals for milk no animals for wool. i blank out after that,sort of like mao’s red guards instructing the chinese peasants to ‘plow deep’ and the earth would feed china in the cultural revolution. was it 50 million that starved to death during china’s experiment with their ‘social licence to grow food?.

  32. wazsah

    I am not familiar with NT procedures Helen but in eastern states I know, that degree of informality would be a couple of decades ago. Now the rule is folders full of expensive, time consuming and unproductive paperwork. Good on you and the best of luck for the venture.
    You can checkout map of NT exploration titles
    http://www.geoscience.gov.au/geoportal-tenementsmap/
    click the NT box on left – hit “load layers” – see NT come up with green EL’s – zoom in – pan around – zoom in till your region is onscreen – click Query on right – then click on parts of the green EL outlines – the actual EL you clicked on highlights yellow and holders details & some dates appear in table at bottom of page. There is no doubt more info available from the NT Dept -
    Some more info
    http://www.ga.gov.au/minerals/australias-exploration-legislation-tenements-reporting.html

  33. Gab

    Good news, Helen! I wish you good luck, much success and loads of money.

  34. Shelley

    I knew this idiot once who wrote a letter to John Howard demanding to know what he (personally) was doing to stop coal mining and fossil fuels. Same idiot loved to travel, bought himself an electric guitar and all the trappings that go with it – amplifier etc, and an electric keyboard, loved his cappuccino machine, his massive tv and stereo. I pointed all this out to him but it was lost on the greenfilth. Claimed everything could be run using wind power and renewables. Such stupid hypocrites.

  35. nerblnob

    None of those points would be any surprise to anyone in extractive or farming industries. We see evidence of it every day.

    Maybe I’m an optimist but I think the greenies reached their high point about 2010, during the Macondo oil spill. They overplayed their hand then and the public is waking up to them.

    Now they must be praying for some prominent environmental disaster to exploit.

    By the way, somebody needs to point out that the effects of Macondo didn’t turn out anywhere near as bad as predicted. BP is too scared to say so publicly.

  36. MT Isa Miner

    Helen

    #1231042, posted on March 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    We are facing the same thing in agriculture, be it live ex or grazing – not so sure about cropping.

    I believe this is a long and well thought out campaign, get us to acknowledge we need some sort of ‘social licence’ in order to operate, then once we agree, to tighten the thumb screws on what ever it is we do they want to change or stop, live export or more land to conservation or what ever, they refuse to recognise that grass is a renewable resource.

    Our problems as farmers are

    1. we are too busy doing
    2. we do not naturally group together
    3. Trust. green groups…. see this as more a weakness to be exploited.

    My feeling is this idea of social licence ….while the greens have the power (given over to them) to set the dialogue, it will always be at farmer’s expense.

    Farmer- miner- local business and therefore families are being done over. Helen your post nailed it. I cut it so that it was easier for me to see the bones of what you were saying.

    The socialists/bureaucrats/”community organisers”/green groupers are using their strengths to do us over. At the same time they lie to us all about it so we never use OUR strengths against them. They are winning because most of us don’t know that war has been declared ,winning not because they are better just better organised.

    It takes someone like Fisky and the other hardheads to call it a bloody shovel and go mental to point out that we are in wartimes. Mate, I mean it in a good way. I am definitely mental myself about this but I don’t know any blokes to sign up for community organisers on our side.

  37. Helen

    Wazsah, thanks, this is round two of negotiating, round one was all the stops and whistles including lawyers, but we now have built up a level of trust that we can operate from. I guess either party could baulk, but then there is round three, so it is in everyone’s interests to stick to the agreement.

    Gab, I don’t know we will make heaps of money, we did have some handy cash last year for work we did which helped enormously since we couldn’t sell any cattle, but it is good to know that work will be done with civility and proper redress, that we have weed plans and proper access and all sorts of things that can quickly lead to bad feelings if not addressed. You don’t have to worry that the fence will be cut and left. You don’t have to worry the gate will be left open and all the careful separation of girls equating to untold hours of work undone as they are boxed up. There is a plan for weed incursion and so forth. It is worth a lot in peace of mind.

  38. Andrew

    Mind you they’re getting away with it because Hunt666 is letting them, and not responding with any facts.

    “We’re dredging in the Marine Park.”

    Well, yes – the whole of Qld from Brisbane up (and up to 1000km out to sea) is defined as marine park – are we never to have a port in Q again???

    “We’re dumping dredge sand in the Marine Park”

    See above – where are you going to take it, Fiji?

    “The Reef will die!”

    What, all 2000km of it?? The plume from Hay Pt reached 2km – Abbot666 Pt will dump the sand 2km offshore, ie 38km from the nearest reef.

    These fuckwits appear to genuinely believe that the Reef is sitting there running up the main street of Gladstone on the mainland. Not an hour’s hydrofoil away.

  39. AP

    Sadly, it’s working. And everywhere you see the acronym “EDO” against a funding item in that document, it’s YOUR taxes paying for it.

  40. AP

    Helen, your experience is not unique. It’s how we do business. A majority of us are very good people.

  41. Myrddin Seren

    Hey Helen,

    This video is from the NSW Minerals Council and features former colleagues from the previous employer.

    I was of the impression that the Company was doing a pretty good job of landholder access, given the sensitivities about State owned resources underlying landholder pasture. This is almost guaranteed to be a no win situation.

    Last I heard, we thought we ( The Company ) had agreed a template access agreement with NSW Farmers, and then someone put the blowtorch to the executive team’s belly and they screamed blue murder that they had been duped and all bets off.

    There are now consultants making a quid from fighting exploration access, so the middle ground is rapidly disappearing in all this.

    But my understanding is that if the sensitivities that you as the landholder reasonably hold can be addressed and actioned responsibly by the exploration company, then it should be a workable relationship.

    I am not sure quite what the solution is, but clearly there is endless conflict between the State owning the mineral and petroleum rights, while the landowners only have their immediate surface rights.

  42. nerblnob

    It’s how we do business. A majority of us are very good people.

    +1.
    I work in extractive industry and have also occasionally worked in music/entertainment.

    The former is largely run on ethics and trust; the latter is a nest of vipers run on exploitation.

    Yet musicians and entertainers assume the right to lecture miners and drillers on moral behaviour. Funny old world.

  43. K D H Ainsworth

    Dear Sinclair,

    The anti-coal document you’ve referenced was adapted by anti-coal activists from a Lock The Gate anti-coal seam gas strategy document without any reference to Lock The Gate.

    Far from being left wing rat bags, many if not a majority of those who support Lock The Gate are quite libertarian in their outlook. This includes the liberty to vigorously oppose poor energy policy.

    If activists are able to oppose inappropriate Coal Seam Gas development in a sophisticated, corporate manner; it’s hard to see what is unreasonable about the proposition.

    Judging by the high level of public opposition to Coal Seam Gas, it appears the Minerals Council is in the minority on the issue.

  44. Jessie

    All the best to you and the captain Helen.

    Johanna at 12.28, presumably the Qld link in West End, employed in a suitable office with ‘friends’ feeds information to their Canberra counterparts, networked or employed in another suitable policy/data department.

    AP at 7.57
    Helen will correct me however I am of the understanding that there is little NT beef actually on sold retail in the NT. Much of the retail meat is sourced from the southern states.

    I was reminded of this when you mentioned EDO (Environmental Defenders Office) and the WA Thompson cattle feedlot affair, written up by Jo Nova.
    While the link discusses the govt dept DEC (Dept Environment and Conservation) the representative lawyer with connections to EDO was employed to advise, the connection unbeknown to Matt and Janet until later.

  45. Milton

    It’s time the industry raised the cost of activism. If someone chains them self to a coal conveyor belt and causes a halt to production, the company must sue the individual for the lost revenue in a court of law and bankrupt them.

  46. Ed

    This is an extremely successful strategy.
    The activists are winning the war against coal.
    As I said earlier, one of the parts of the strategy I admire most is that they are working on the Liberals from the inside. It’s a total wedge. It’s brilliant.

  47. .

    Milton
    #1232224, posted on March 20, 2014 at 5:33 am
    It’s time the industry raised the cost of activism. If someone chains them self to a coal conveyor belt and causes a halt to production, the company must sue the individual for the lost revenue in a court of law and bankrupt them.

    I would have them financially macerated under OH&S law. Hoist the left on their own petard.

  48. Pickles

    Drew Hutton and his green fifth columnists played you Lock the Gate mob like a second hand Kazoo. When it was clear that you had been duped what did you do? Fuck all. You were warned about getting between the sheets with that grub.

  49. Combine_Dave

    If activists are able to oppose inappropriate Coal Seam Gas development in a sophisticated, corporate manner; it’s hard to see what is unreasonable about the proposition.

    If you were truly libertarian you (while being free to reject CSG on your own property) wouldn’t be acting to prevent others from benefiting from the dollars and cheap energy CSG can bring in.

    A polished effort to push the government to ban a vital economic activity is hardly libertarian at all.

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