Advasol’s premature claims

According to a farmer in the Stillbaai area, the Gas Drilling Company, Advasol are apparently telling farmers at their ‘braai events’ that the environmental objections to their exploration have been turned down. This seems a little premature since the objections were only lodged with PASA 10 days ago.

PASA expresses concerns about ground water pollution

While Gas Drilling is under intense environmental pressure in the USA, Petroleum Agency SA is currently in Washington as part  of a U.S. State Department sponsored the visit and a two-day Global Shale Gas Initiative Conference in Washington, D.C.  Jennifer Marot, manager of frontier geology for Petroleum Agency SA, the agency that regulates oil and gas exploration in South Africa, said she and agency CEO Mthozami Xiphu want to see the impacts first hand.  She reportedly told delegates that,  “We’re just beginning  gas exploration in our country,” Marot said. “We want to make sure we learn as much as we can.””(South Africa) is concerned about the issue,” she said. “We’re a semi-arid country, so water is a precious commodity.”

Hopefully, these concerns will force a PASA rethink on gas drilling in areas  like the Southern Cape where ground water is absolutely critical.

Sign up! Join! Become a member!

We would really like to encourage all property owners in the area, as well as those who are keen to play a role in the conservation of the heritage and natural environment of the area, to become members of the Duiwenhoks Conservancy. Membership helps us fund all sorts of initiatives like the Limestone Fynbos publications. If you are not currently a member and would like to join, please complete the attached application form and email it to me together with the confirmation of payment of the subs.member application form

Gas Drilling stopped in the USA

The New York State Senate has approved at least a nine-month delay in issuing permits for a method of natural gas drilling, saying more study is needed to ensure it does not contaminate the state’s water supply.Reuters Article

In an interview, New York Governor Paterson said the controversy over natural gas drilling is “obviously a clash between a very lucrative profit-making opportunity and a very serious public safety hazard.”

CSIR Workshop for the Renewable Energy Working Group of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative

I received this note about the workshop from Benita at the CSIR.
Anyone who wants to attend needs to RSVP by the 27th August.

Dear Stakeholder
The CSIR is working in partnership with the Renewable Energy Working Group of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) to develop a strategy for green (renewable) energy for the Agulhas Plains. The strategy will ultimately deal with many aspects of green energy from green building to energy efficiency and the use of different types of renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar and biogas energy.
The partnership is working specifically on a case study looking at generating energy from Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs) on the Agulhas Plains. Many parties such as Working for Water, have been involved in the removal of alien vegetation from the Plains area for many years. The Case Study, entitled IAP2Energy, is looking at how the alien vegetation that is removed, can be productively used and generate energy and income for landowners, which could perhaps in turn be used for sound land management. The IAP2Energy project is one of several opportunities that could form part of a broader strategy for green energy in the area.
At the CSIR, we are designing several methods and approaches for planning for renewable energy with sustainability as the primary goal. The various methods and approaches fit within an overall planning-for-sustainability framework that provides the context for integrated analysis and planning of renewable energy programmes and projects. These methods and the overall framework are still being developed and we are using the IAP2Energy case study to test and improve them so that they can be used more broadly across the country to plan for sustainability in renewable energy.
The first step in planning for sustainability of green energy on the Agulhas Plains, is to ensure that the people who live and work in the area, or have some other interest in the area and in a green energy initiative, have a common vision of what the development of green energy should entail. The common vision will then be used to guide all further work to be done to develop green energy on the Plains, so that there is consistency and cohesion and that sustainability is assured.
The CSIR and the ABI Renewable Energy Working Group invite you to participate in developing this common vision, at a workshop to be held on Wednesday 1 September 2010, from 10h00 – 16h00, at the Stanford Valley Conference Centre.
Please RSVP for catering purposes, before Friday 27 August 2010.
To be able to develop a common vision, we not only need broad representation from the people of the Agulhas Plains area, but we would like to encourage your active participation and invite you to share your knowledge and personal insight into the area during the workshop. If you have any relevant information (e.g. spatial development plans, information describing the area, information on current and proposed developments, photographs, maps, stories, etc.) that you think we could use to inform the development of the vision, you are encouraged to bring this with you.
We look forward to working with you in this exciting initiative.
best regards

Benita de Wet (Pr.Sci.Nat.)
Sustainable Social Ecological Systems
Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR
Tel: +27 (0)11 358 0087
Fax: +27 (0)11 726 5405

‘Braaiing votes’ – Advasol’s new approach

A farmer in the Blombos area, contacted the Blombos Conservancy today to report on some activities in the area. Apparently, the ‘mining company’ has been holding braais for the farmers of the area and spreading ‘lies’ about their activities. They have excluded any party that is likely to oppose them. He says the farmers have been promised all sort of compensation.

Does anyone have further details?