John Fenton Tour – 2014

In 2014, Jeremy Buckingham organised a tour of Wyoming farmer John Fenton to talk about his experience with unconventional gas. The tour was an enormous success, with many Australians hearing John’s moving story.  This page archives material from the tour.

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John Fenton is a farmer from Pavillion Wyoming who has been living with pollution of ground water and air pollution, john-fenton-photo-close-cropland use and other effects of the gas industry.  John and his wife Catherine have 24 gas wells on their farm.  John Fenton featured in theGasland film.

In 2008 the US EPA investigated discoloured ground water in Pavillion. Pavillion, is one of the most isolated areas of the United States.  A small irrigation area in the middle of Wyoming, 300 miles drive from the state capital Cheyenne. The Grand Tetons and Yellow Stone National Park are situated a few hours west.

About 200 unconventional gas wells have been drilled in the district one of which is only 100 meters from John Fenton’s house. Pavillion came to international attention after the United States Environmental Protection Authority found that fracking had contaminated the water.

In 2010 the EPA warned Pavillion residents not to drink the water and use a fan when bathing or washing clothes to avoid the risk of explosion, after it found the water contaminated with dangerous chemicals and methane caused by fracking for gas.  Later the EPA was pressured to end their investigation.

Josh Fox visited the Pavillion area when making his film Gasland.  He interviewed farmer Lewis Meeks whose water well exploded with high pressure gas and whose water from his new well smells like diesel. Neighbour Jeff Locker has had a reverse osmosis machine installed in a shed to provide water, with unsatisfactory results.

The gas company, EnCana, now trucks in drinking water for local farmers even though they refuse to admit liability. Some residents eat from paper plates because they cannot wash dishes without contamination, and they must open their windows when they have a shower.  The water flowing out of the bores and taps smells like diesel and can be lit if contained in a jar. Several people in the district have developed neuropathy or other health ailments.  Animals in the area have also become sick.

Local farmers also suffer from gas land use clashing with agriculture, with well pads, access roads, pipelines, truck visits and compressor stations all affecting farm operations.

Both the gas industry and the state of Wyoming put enormous pressure on the EPA to back away from its initial findings that fracking for gas had contaminated the water. The EPA cracked and agreed to hand the study over to the state of Wyoming whose research will be funded by EnCana, the very company whose gas wells may have caused the contamination.  You can read all about this saga here and here.

John Fenton has become a leading activist in the US against unconventional gas.  He has a great story to tell and is an effective and authentic communicator.

John Fenton toured the east coast of Australia in Feburary and March of 2014  to sound a warning to Australian media, decision-makers and audiences as to the consequences of fracking for unconventional gas and the long-term effects of a mature unconventional gas industry.

John Fenton presents in Casino NSW

 

Narrabri Courier: American producer airs coal seam gas concerns

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A 600-strong crowd packed The Crossing Theatre last Thursday night to hear American farmer John Fenton speak about the damage coal seam gas has caused to his Wyoming property.
Mr Fenton, who was in Narrabri as part of his Australian tour and has 24 gas wells on his Pavillion farm, said coal seam gas operations had ruined his small town’s water supply .
In 2010 the US EPA warned Pavillion residents not to drink the water and use a fan when bathing or washing clothes to avoid the risk of explosion, after it found the water contaminated.
“Once you have something like this move in on agricultural ground it’s never the same,” he told the audience.
“Our productivity has dropped … we cannot get the soil to be productive again.”
Many of his concerns centred on the effects from hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, which Santos says won’t be used as part of its Narrabri Gas Project.
WIN News Illawarra – John Fenton
Coal seam gas industry’s solution to underground pollution is to bury the proof
In response to misleading, industry spin peddled by former Howard Minister Peter Reith, John Fenton wrote an Open Editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald explaining the impact that drilling for gas has had on his land, water and community.water-on-fireRead John Fenton’s article: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/coal-seam-gas-industrys-solution-to-underground-pollution-is-to-bury-the-proof-20140227-33m4t.html#ixzz2uZQBg3akRead Peter Reith’s original article here: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/coal-seam-gas-debate-has-no-place-for-scare-campaigns-20140224-33cw3.html 

 

A quarter of Narrabri turns out to see John Fenton

Over 600 people attended tonight’s event in Narrabri’s Crossing Theatre.  They gave John Fenton a standing ovation.

Santos’ Pilliga gas project is one of the front lines in the campaign against coal seam gas

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John Fenton visits a drill site in the Pilliga

Wyoming farmer John Fenton and his family have visited a coal seam gas drill site in the Pilliga forest in North West NSW today.  Hundreds of farmers met him there.

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Big crowd in Casino

A big crowd turned up to hear John Fenton tell his story in Casino

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Mullaley hospitality

A warm welcome for John Fenton outside Mullaley.

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Interview on ABC North Coast radio

Listen to Wyoming farmer John Fenton talk to ABC North Coast radio.

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Photo: Sarah Ndiaye -ABC Local

 

 

Interview with Alan Jones on 2GB

John Fenton spoke with Alan Jones in the 2GB studio on 20 February 2014.

You can listen to the segment here.

and John spoke to Alan again half way through the tour on 4 March 2014, listen here.

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Radio National Breakfast interview

Today John Fenton spoke to the ABC’s Fran Kelly on the Radio National Breakfast program.

You can listen here.

 

Farmers shouldn’t have to defend their way of life reports the Herald Sun

WIN NEWS Illawarra reports on John Fenton

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Independent Australia reporting on Big Gas and its political lackeys: Attacking Australians’ rights

 

Gloucester – 28 February

11am – 12:30pm, Friday 28 February 2014

Gloucester Bowling Club, cnr Park St and Thunderbolts Way

Speakers: John Fenton – Wyoming Farmer
Jeremy Buckingham – Country Greens mining spokesperson

Contact: Julie Lyford m: 0424 269 784 h: 6558 1995

 

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Narrabri – 27 February

7pm, Thursday 27 February 2014

Crossing Theatre, 117 Tibbereena Street, Narrabri

Speakers: John Fenton – Wyoming Farmer
Jeremy Buckingham – Country Greens mining spokesperson

Contact: Rohan Boehm: 0425 222 786

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Wingham – 28 February

6.30pm, Friday 28 February 2014

Wingham Town Hall, 52 Farquhar Street

Presented by the Manning Alliance.

 

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22 February – Sydney

4pm Saturday 22 February 2014

Leichhardt Town Hall, Cnr Norton & Marion Streets, Leichhardt

Presented by Stop CSG Sydney & the Greens

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Illawarra – 2 March

11am Sunday 2 March 2014

Thirroul Community Centre – 352/358 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Thirroul

Contact: stop-csg-illawarra.org 8003 3170

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Brisbane – 23 February

12 Noon Sunday 23 February 2014

Hamilton Town Hall 

Corner of Rossiter Parade and Racecourse Road, Hamilton

RSVP via Eventbrite.

Presented by Australian Greens Senator for Qld, Larrisa Waters

Contact: 3367 0566

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Bowral – 4 March

6:30 to 9:30 pm, Tuesday, March 4

Empire Cinema, 327 Bong Bong St Bowral
*Also featuring “Fractured Country” & “Undermining Australia”, the stories of the Australian CSG and Coal invasion
Contact Kim Martin 0412 443 142
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Gippsland – 7 March

Friday 7th March, 7pm

Rosedale Mechanics Hall, Rosedale

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Melbourne – 6 March

Thursday March 6, 7 pm.

Edinburgh Gardens Community Room, North Fitzroy

Full details: foe.org.au

Bangalow – 24 February

6pm, Monday 24 February 2014

A & I Hall Station St Bangalow

Presented by Greens MPs Jan Barham & Jeremy Buckingham

Contact Graeme Williams 0402 438 833

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Casino – 25 February

7pm – Tuesday 25 February 2014

Casino RSM 162 Canterbury Street, Casino

Contact: Dean Draper 0423 753 748

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John Fenton, Wyoming famer & gas activist

2014

Saturday 22 February – Sydney
Sunday 23 February – Brisbane
Monday 24 February – Bangalow
Tuesday 25 February – Casino
Thursday 27 February – Narrabri
Friday 28 February – Gloucester
Friday 28 February – Taree/Wingham
Sunday 2 March – Illawarra
Tuesday 4 March – Bowral
Thursday 6 March – Melbourne
Friday 7 March – Gippsland