Fracking Up a Storm
A booming coal gas industry promises to bring a new era of wealth to Australian cattle country. A handful of feisty farmers don’t quite see it that way.
My guess is you’ve never heard of Ewingar. Most people haven’t. It’s rocky, marginal country, more than an hour from the small town of Casino, the so-called beef capital of Australia in Northern New South Wales. No shops, no post office, mail delivered only three times a week. Population: 150. No celebrities live here, no fancy houses or iconic tourist attractions.
In March 2012 an advertisement in the classifieds section of The Land newspaper announced that Macquarie Energy had applied for a license to mine for unconventional or coal seam gas over an area of 1,275 square kilometers, which included Ewingar. The map showed two adjoining rectangular boxes superimposed on the veins of rivers and roads. The squiggly line at the bottom of the skinny rectangle on the PEL’s map, that’s Ewingar Road. Halfway along, that’s where I live with my partner, Jen, and our dogs, horses and beef cattle. That’s our home.
Malcolm, the contact person listed in the advertisement,…
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