Driller’s share price crashes as Australia direct actions continue

metgascoInvestors have taken flight from an Australian Coal Bed Methane operator as community Direct Action escalated at its site in Doubtful Creek, New South Wales.

The action are ongoing – see here for details.

The share price of driller Metgasco has fallen by nearly 50% since the start of the February, due to efforts of the local community in blocking the movements of the company’s equipment. Yesterday the company’s drill rig remained in its compound as local residents maintained a blockade the site. Cuadrilla owner AJ Lucas is acting as a contractor at the site; last week police used pepper spray in a vain attempt to clear a path for the company to move the rig.

In mid February a variety of tactics were used to prevent the company moving equipment, including protesters chaining themselves to vehicles, erecting tripods, as well as sit downs in the road.  Blockades have been happening almost daily at the site, as people from the CSG Free Northern Rivers organisation come together to protect their lands.

Locals are resolute in their opposition to CBM (in Australia it’s called Coal Seam Gas or CSG). More than 90% of residents have pledged to resist the drillers. People at the protests appear as if from nowhere – in reality they are organised via phone trees – with each person calling several others if the company appears to be conducting operations.

This is the reality of the organising of the Lock the Gate Alliance, a nationwide grouping of more than 120 anti-gas organisations determined to exercise their democratic right to uphold their own decisions. Lock the Gate (LTG) is a unique exercise in community democracy – you can see how they do it here.

LTG – and their local associates – have fought Metgasco and other drillers on two fronts: politically and on the ground. In the political sphere, local groups have ferociously lobbied the government of New South Wales, prompting it to recently ban drilling within 2km of residential buildings. On the ground, communities have also squared up the drillers when they appear, physically impeding their progress, as outlined above.

The courageous actions of the people of Doubtful Creek are an inspiration for the global resistance to the gas industry. This also has important implications for the UK. At present much of the anti-gas effort comes from trying to influence existing politicians. As the people of Doubtful Creek have shown, physical resistance also proves an effective weapon to add to any resistance’s armoury. You can follow the progress of the battle at Doubtful Creek via the CSG Free Northern Rivers Facebook page.

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