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Fossil Fool Bulletin

Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

Fossil fools in the spotlight this week: A resource for people working to end the fossil fuel era in Australia Published by Eve Sinton •

FFB 1:13 • 27 FEBRUARY 2018

Ordinary people testify: their rights are being trampled by the gas industry By Shay Dougall Anyone who has come within sniffing distance of the unconventional gas industry in Australia has suffered the slow strangulation that is the public submission process, led by governments in a deliberate attempt to wear down any opposition to this industry. One only need read the 17 federal and state Inquiries into the industry. The detailed submissions from everyday families and the government salami sliced response that continues to champion the industry, demonstrates human rights are contravened consistently to allow the unconventional gas industry to operate. Why? Because the ethical, moral and social aspects of the impacts of the industry are not considered by the government regarding environment, land, water, air and health. There must be another way. There is an alliance of organizations and individuals making plans to put the entire practice of hydraulic fracturing and other forms of unconventional gas on trial. The court is the Permanent People’s Tribunal, a descendant of the Vietnam War-era International War Crimes Tribunal. This tribunal while not having standing in law is intended to produce legally literate and serious judgements on an international stage. The objective is to ensure that human rights and the

• P 3: Gas whistleblower struggles for legal costs

These are dark times for human rights in Australia, and in the world with the un-righteous rise of right wing nationalists Trumpeting a new dawn of anti-rights and their leaders who are hostile to established International Human Rights Law institutions including the United Nations and its many various bodies and the International Criminal Court. The ascension of an Alt-Right who are not interested in truth, evidence or facts makes the job of a legal advocate increasingly challenging in a “post-truth”- “alternative fact”-dystopia. The silver lining of course is that the more extreme the rhetorical pendulum swings the more opportunities there are for all of us as advocates to stand up, speak out, and robustly reaffirm the value of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms as the building blocks of our “fair go”, lucky country, ANZAC-spirited way of life. – Benedict Coyne, human rights lawyer, Brisbane

public interest are included n legislative and regulatory decisions. Holding the Tribunal this year is certainly the right timing. In 2016 the Sisters of Mercy joined a Group from Chinchilla, Queensland, to deliver two oral interventions at the United Nations Human Rights Council concerning the increasingly urgent and widespread issue of fracking’s impacts on human rights. In 2017 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst visited Australia and he called on the Government of Australia to “urgently dispel civil society’s growing concerns about the combined ‘chilling effect’ of its recent laws, policies and actions constraining the rights of human rights defenders and noted that he “was astonished to observe mounting evidence of a range of cumulative mea-

sures that have concurrently levied enormous pressure on Australian civil society.” This year, 2018, is a year-long celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) the very declaration that this tribunal is based upon. Australia has recently won a seat at the table of the United Nations Human Rights Council . The Queensland government has made a commitment to introduce a human rights act this term. What type of evidence will be considered to establish that human rights being violated?

• P 4: Treated wastewater crop fail for Santos?

• P 12: Barnaby has gone... for now

Right to Health

• No baseline testing and no plans to implement a sufficiently large and well-resourced study in to the health

Continued P 2

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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

The power of the stories of ordinary people Continued from P 1

impacts of the industry yet hospital admissions in the Queensland gasfields has increased in some cases, by up to 142%. Right to a safe and sustainable environment

• Large inconsistencies in the conduct of assessment of emissions by the CSG industry, including how complete and transparent assessments were, as well as how effectively they addressed project emission intensity and cumulative impacts. • No independently verifiable auditing of gas emissions (methane). • Repeated understating by the government regarding the consequences and risks associated with the industry and greenhouse gas emissions – in particular, human deaths. • Government subsidisation of the industry to the detriment of the people and their health and their participation in the decisions made by the government. Resource Minister Matt Canavan has announced a $26 million grant to fast track development of new on shore gas supplies. It has been tagged the Gas Acceleration Program or GAP. There are a bunch of other GAPs that the Federal Government could have chosen to demonstrate leadership and fecundity for such as, undertaking health impact assessments caused by the industry, investigating and reducing atmospheric emissions caused by the industry, or simply growing business investment in renewable energy. As Kathleen Dean Moore says in the first of the bedrock lectures leading up to the tribunal:

“. . . [this tribunal] will be world changing. Maybe a decade ago in Montana [a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute warned her] ‘Don’t you ever, ever, ever, ever, underestimate the power of the fossil fuel industry.’ Now we will test the power of stories from ordinary people who have felt the powerful grip of fossil fuels. I do not underestimate the power of their stories heard in a public forum in the bright light of a truth-seeking panel in the context of globally accepted moral standards.” The Australian Tribunal into the Human Rights Impact of Unconventional Gas is collating Australian submissions to go to the PPT. It is really easy for you to make (just one more) submission: you can send us an email explaining how your human rights have been violated by government and the CSG industry or, easier still, you can use a previous submission – just add a covering paragraph identifying how the submission reflects how human rights are impacted and attach it. You can send your submission by visiting:

Or you can email to: If you would like further information on the Australian Submissions, go to:

If you would like further information on the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal go to:

• Shay Dougall is Convenor of The Australian Tribunal into the Human Rights Impact of Unconventional Gas

There is no independently verified monitoring of methane emissions from unconventional gas infrastructure such as the Kenya RO plant near Chinchilla. Photo: Dean Draper

News this week The Labor party continues to dither over Adani, as it tries to attract Melbourne votes while avoiding a backlash from blue collar workers in north Queensland. After anti-Adani protesters were assaulted by a man outside a public meeting held by Bill Shorten, Townsville Council cancelled a film night booking on its premises. Mayor Jenny Hill said the cancellation was made for safety reasons, but the anti-Adani group who were screening the film claimed they were being censored. The film was screened at an alternative venue without incident. Adani missed another funding deadline for the Carmichael Mine, blaming the Queensland government’s NAIF loan veto. Jason Wilson’s long and thoughtful piece about the mood in Townsville, published in The Guardian, is well worth a read (P 6). After referring MP George Christensen’s aggro pistol post to police, Galilee Blockade figure Ben Pennings offered to drop the complaint if George would sit down for a chat over dinner. The offer hasn’t been taken up, possibly because Mr Christensen was preoccupied with an overly optimistic bid for the National Party leadership. Residents of the Upper Hunter Valley, NSW, are concerned at poor air quality from coal mining operations. They have requested an urgent meeting with the EPA, saying the current regulatory approach is just a PR campaign which is failing to protect residents’ health. Hospital admissions have soared along with pollution levels. Poor health outcomes near coalfired power stations in Victoria’s Latrobe valley also hit the news, with demands for tougher emissions caps. The Knitting Nannas Against Gas were credited with prophetic powers by the Newcastle Herald, when it was realised they had made a gift of booties to Barnaby Joyce before the pregnant lover scandal broke. Nanna Pat Shultz told the newspaper she ‘had an inkling’ and that Barnaby’s Tamworth receptionist struggled to keep a straight face when the gift was presented.

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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

I’m not going to stop until I beat them or am incapacitated: Gasco whistleblower Former Origin Energy executive and whistleblower, Fiona Wilson, continues to struggle against her detention and involuntary medication by the Queensland Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (QFTAC). She has been drugged against her will and without any charges laid against her. Fiona is appealing her treatment in court and the next hearing is on March 9 in Brisbane. Fiona needs a barrister to represent her in court as the case is now very complex. FFB first published a story on Fiona’s plight last November (FFB1:2). Fiona’s problems began when she was asked to remove statements noting integrity and non-compliance issues from a well site integrity report. She saw many other issues of grave concern. After raising these matters, she was made redundant. When she applied to Queensland Industrial Relations Commission for a review of her employment termination, it became apparent that 170 pages of evidence had been removed from her file. Fiona’s case went to an appeal that would have exposed evidence of tampering, corruption and cover-up by the energy company and government officials, but the appeal was dismissed. Subsequently, Fiona wrote three emails, over three months, to a government minister. She requested a meeting so she could provide the minister with evidence about her case. The emails were ignored. Finally, in frustration, she made a social media comment that triggered action. Late one night, police knock

Late one night, police officers arrived on her doorstep. Despite presenting no ID, they detained her and delivered her to a mental health unit for a compulsory psychiatric assessment. The police were from Queensland’s Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (QFTAC), which deals with people who are considered to be ‘fixated’ on government officials and public figures. Working on flawed evidence, the unit

and the psychiatrists decided Fiona was delusional, fixated and a threat (despite admitting she was ‘high functioning’). They forced her to be dosed with powerful drugs. Despite full admissions by two treating psychiatrists that they have never reviewed the email exchanges or alleged threat towards the minister, this being the reason for detainment and treatment, both doctors have continued forcible treatment. It is the opinion of an independent clinical and consulting psychologist, and a qualified counsellor, that Fiona is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following the ordeal of blowing the whistle on the coal seam gas industry – and is NOT delusional, as the QFTAC have claimed. The QFTAC are interpreting very broad definitions in Fiona’s case. Fiona was merely trying to contact the relevant Queensland Minister about the evidence that she was exposing. Instead of acting on Fiona’s evidence, the Minister referred her to QFTAC. Intelligence agencies target dissent

Gold coast lawyer Chris Nyst said, “Proactive intelligence agencies undoubtedly have their place, particularly in an ever-more-sophisticated world of anti-government activity. But so, of course, do concepts of open government, transparent and accountable law enforcement, and the right to dissent. “Unfortunately, the online QFTAC brochure is long on why ‘fixated persons’ must be monitored, but regrettably short on whether, and if so how, its own activities are. With no mention of any kind of public interest monitor, we’re left to wonder just precisely who is fixating on the people fixating on the fixated people.” Sydney Criminal Lawyers recently noted that, “The 2015 QPS Violent Confrontations Review found that over a 12-month period, almost half of those referred to the Queensland unit had a serious mental illness, that 16% were considered high risk and that 50% were considered moderate risk. “Although the QPS did not publish the percentage of low risk individuals referred to the unit, it stands to reason that the remaining 34% did not fit the

Fiona Wilson about to be injected (without her consent) with a monthly dose of the drug Abilify. Photo: supplied

criteria of posing a threat. “The inference is that many were targeted by the unit when there was insufficient justification to do so.” A similar fixated persons unit has been established in New South Wales. Sydney Criminal Lawyers said, “The fear, of course, is that such units will be used to identify, target and victimise whistleblowers and others who speak against state agents – rather than have any significant value in combating ‘lone-wolf’ attacks.” Fundraising to pay a barrister

Fiona has since moved hundreds of kilometres away from Brisbane to begin a new life with her husband, but is still trapped in this new system. Fiona has exhausted her bank account fighting this to date but now needs a barrister to appeal the QFTAC’s harsh new laws. “I’m not going to stop until I beat them or until I’m incapacitated,” she said. “This is not for just me but for everyone they treat like this.” If you can spare some cash, please donate to Fiona at:

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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

Santos irrigation area with treated CSG waste near Narrabri may be failing, say protectors After six months of irrigation with treated coal seam gas water images have emerged of an unhealthy-looking Lucerne crop that poorly covers the 49ha area near the Santos Leewood plant in the Pilliga. A healthy, actively growing crop is required to utilise the treated water but images captured on January 31, 2018 reveal areas of bare soil that don’t appear to have been seeded. Images taken in November 2017 tell a similar story. Community waiting on results

Johanna Evans from the North West Protection Advocacy (NWPA) said, “The community has to wait another five months for soil and water data to become available according to Santos’ Irrigation Management Plan developed in consultation with the EPA and DPI. Why are Santos allowed to have such a long time frame in which to provide data? After the failure of the EPA approved Irrigation Trial at AGL’s Gloucester CSG project which used coal seam gas waste one would think that more frequent testing would have been employed to prove safety and efficacy.” Santos reached a trigger level late last year and chose to be proactive in reseeding a 10ha area that had failed to germinate according to correspondence with the EPA in December 2017. The EPA claimed that concerns expressed at this time were premature. Two transects of the surface 10cm of topsoil should be sampled annually. and the soil analysed for nutrients, SARe (Sodium Adsorption Ratio), pH and EC (Electrical Conductivity) according to the Irrigation Management Plan. But no testing is being done for heavy metals or organic compounds.

Above: November 2017, shortly after area re-seeded. Photo: Supplied Right: Irrigation circle looking to the west on January 31, 2018. Photo: WandoCC

High risk of adverse impacts

quality, including bicarbonate levels, heavy metals and metalloid levels with particular reference to lithium. In the planning process leading up to the approval of the Beneficial Reuse Review of Environmental Factors the EPA concluded that a control site would not be necessary as long as there was adequate baseline monitoring, so where is that monitoring data? Don Mackenzie, a farmer from Coonamble has watched with interest how the crop has progressed.

In a review of Santos’ Agricultural Impact Statement the Office of Agricultural Sustainability and Food Security (2015) assessed the exploration project as having a high risk of significant adverse impacts and potential loss of the agricultural capacity of the lands affected by the proposal. The office requested that the Irrigation Management Plan provide more information on the irrigation water

“The crop looks very poorly and I would be very disappointed in the way it is growing as it has been irrigated regularly. I’ve seen better dryland crops of lucerne than what I have seen at Leewood,” he said. “The EPA don’t appear to be too concerned about the lack of testing/data but this approach gives community no surety that the process of beneficial reuse by treated coal seam gas waste

“Crop looks very poorly”

is safe for the environment. Greater transparency is required.” The EPA inspected the crop in December 2017 and communicated that they thought the crop was growing well and that the irrigated crop looked healthy and was relatively uniform in growth across the area. The EPA was again contacted in early February with new concerns raised by the recent aerial. The EPA has conveyed verbally that the lucerne had been harvested by Santos and that the images reflect this. NWPA said, “How many tonnes were harvested and what date did this occur and what is the end use for the crop? Written communication from the EPA around these fresh concerns is awaited.” Santos have not published any images or spoken publicly about the irrigation since September 2017.

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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

In the news this week: This week Fossil Fool Bulletin has summarised 22,500 words of news for your convenience.

Click on the links to view original articles.

($ = subscription may be required)

THE ADANI SAGA bill-shorten-says-theres-a-role-for-coal-and-adani-minejust-another-project

Bill Shorten says there’s a ‘role for coal’ and Adani mine just ‘another project’ Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 19/02/2018

Bill Shorten has declared there is a role for coal in Australia, and characterised the controversial Adani coalmine as just “another project” as he digs in for several days visiting marginal coastal electorates in Queensland, trumpeting local infrastructure commitments. The positive public signal from the Labor leader on the future of coal followed a warning last week by the CFMEU’s national president, Tony Maher, that any move by Labor to block Adani’s controversial Carmichael coalmine would expose Labor politically in Queensland, and open a divisive debate within the ALP about the future of coalmines in Australia. labors-environment-group-wants-party-to-make-clear-itsstance-on-adani-mine

Labor’s environment group wants party to make clear its stance on Adani mine Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 20/02/2018

Labor’s influential internal environmental lobby group has called on the federal party to clarify its stance on the controversial Adani coalmine, a project it says is not in the national interest. The national convener of the Labor environment action network, Felicity Wade, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday the party needed to make a decision. “The Adani mine is not in the national interest and does not have broad community support. Digging up low-quality polluting coal isn’t a winning strategy in a carbon-constrained global economy.” SEE ALL ISSUES OF FOSSIL FOOL BULLETIN

A mock-up of an Adani train from Galilee Blockade’s Facebook page. feb/19/labor-mp-says-adani-mine-would-displace-jobsand-sabotage-paris-targets

Labor MP says Adani mine would displace jobs and sabotage Paris targets Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 20/02/2018

The shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, has warned the development of the Galilee basin is not in Australia’s national interest, because it would displace mining and jobs in existing coal regions, and would not help the world meet its obligations under the Paris climate agreement. Butler has used a speech to the Sydney Institute to argue the controversial Adani coal project is “utterly exceptional” because it is the only significant export-oriented greenfields mine opening up “on the face of the planet”.

Bill Shorten public meeting: Man charged after clash with anti-Adani activists

Rachel Riley & Tony Raggatt, Townsville Bulletin, 19/02/2018

A public town hall meeting hosted by Labor leader Bill Shorten was marred by an ugly scuffle on Monday night with a man charged with assaulting anti-Adani protesters. About 20 anti-Adani protesters gathered on the footpath outside Currajong State School for a “peaceful demonstration” when they were confronted by a Townsville man trying to attend

the meeting. Kirwan police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Jason Brosnan said the man was charged with three counts of common assault and was issued a formal move on order. Sen-Sgt Brosnan said when the man was asked why he committed the alleged assault he told officer “he was sick of protesters”. Protester Gail Hamilton said: “Cr Brunker and George Christensen and a few other people have been encouraging violence against protesters saying things like ‘these guys deserve a clipping’. “I interpret that as the community has been given a green light to inflict violence on these peaceful protesters.” $

Council denies politics behind the axing of anti-Adani documentary screening Josh Robinson, ABC, 21/02/2018

Townsville City Council’s talks with police about “emerging community tensions” in the debate around the Carmichael mine project prompted its move to halt the screening at one of its public venues a week out, according to its chief executive Adele Young. However, the North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) insists the council did not mention safety concerns when it first revealed its decision to scrap the booking agreement last Thursday. The environmental group had already

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paid to hold a local premiere of the Nell Schofield film, A Mighty Force, at Townsville’s Old Magistrates Court on February 22, along with simultaneous screenings in other cities. President of the NQCC, Wendy Tubman, said a council officer told the group in a phone call that her supervisor had instructed her to cancel the booking as council had deemed the film “political”. State Greens MP Michael Berkman said that “whichever way you interpret the Townsville City Council’s actions here, it seems pretty rotten”. “If they can’t be confident that community members are able to safely attend a film screening at the council venue, that’s a real worry,” he told the ABC. “What’s perhaps more concerning is if council is deliberately stifling community engagement and censoring any backlash around Adani, especially when they’ve come under fire for their dodgy $18 million funding of Adani’s airstrip.”

Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018

per, and the national daily, the Australian. All three have covered the events on the reef with a mixture of equivocation, “scepticism”, and misdirection. The Bulletin has been far more intent on its boosterist campaign for the construction of Adani’s Carmichael mine, with an attendant crusade against protesters. The paper’s zeal has only been exceeded by local luminaries in politics and business, including the Labor mayor. So there’s never been much room, locally, for serious scrutiny of the claims about the jobs the mine would provide, about how much all of this would cost the taxpayer, and of whether the stars could once again align to deliver the historical circumstances that led to the boom. There was even less serious thought about the way in which the boom, and all that coal it caused to be dug up and burned, had any relationship to what was happening in the waters just over the horizon. news-story/f6609802511330b61fe678c92c88499f

Adani mine a “long term” source of indigenous jobs and education

Clare Armstrong, Townsville Bulletin, 21/02/2018 feb/21/townsville-isnt-an-outlier-it-shows-with-claritywhat-australia-could-become

Townsville isn’t an outlier. It shows with clarity what Australia could become Jason Wilson, The Guardian, 21/02/2018

In Townsville, the biggest city on the Great Barrier Reef coast, a focus on jobs that are no longer there obscures the facts about the death of the reef The reef is dying. You can see for yourself in the videos and photos published by the ARC Centre of Excellence, based in Townsville, which studies the ecosystem that we will likely soon have killed. The local paper, the Townsville Bulletin, has not really been treating this as the matter of world-historical significance that it surely is. Its coverage is one symptom of a pathology that runs parallel to coral bleaching: News Corporation’s lock on local news in large swathes of the country, and especially in Queensland. In the newsagents you’ll find the Bulletin sold along with the Courier-Mail, News’s state newspa-

Indigenous land owners backing the Adani mine say the project is an opportunity to generate jobs instead of just “waiting for government” to reduce chronic unemployment rates. Traditional owner and signatory to the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani, Patrick Malone, said he supported the project because he could see the long-term benefits for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people. “One of the parts of the plan, is that W&J people would own and operate the buses that service the mine, the first instance, we may go into a joint venture with the existing bus company, who would work us through it and then we could eventually take over,” he said. $

Shorten says he’s listening to Townsville’s concerns about key issues Clare Armstrong, Townsville Bulletin, 21/02/2018

Opposition leader Bill Shorten says he’s “heard the concerns” of Townsville locals but stands by his criticism of the Adani coal mine project.

The Federal Labor leader said he discussed cyber-bullying, the cost of living, youth homelessness, health and water security with Townsville people on the first leg of his impromptu North Queensland tour. His community meeting at Currajong State School was overshadowed by anti-Adani protesters, but Mr Shorten said he was happy for “anyone” to attend the forums provided they remained “respectful” of proceedings. Mr Shorten said he didn’t want a “repeat” of Queensland Nickel in Townsville where a single company is seen as the saviour of jobs in the region. $ adani-goes-local-for-environmental-consulting/news-story/b31e7e01a8a146c7ebdb19a7a2230fb6

Adani goes local for environmental consulting Kelsie Iorio, Townsville Bulletin, 21/02/2018

A small, Townsville environmental consulting business is working with Adani to dig deep into the science of the project’s environmental impact. Director of WILD Environmental Consultants Nicholas Baker and his team are involved in initial engagement with Adani to assist with pre-construction environmental monitoring, and are set to visit the site for further investigation in coming weeks. For Adani, the team’s role is to monitor environmental outcomes, like protected species or water quality, and implement mitigation measured to maintain stability. $

Christensen denies encouraging violence towards Adani protesters Sam Bidey, Townsville Bulletin, 21/02/2018

Constrovesial MP George Christensen has rubbished an activist’s claim he encouraged people to use violence against Adani protesters after a heated encounter in Townsville. A 54-year-old man will face assault charges after allegedly bumping and pushing three Adani protesters outside a public hall meeting at Currajong State School on Monday night, hosted by federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole. Kirwan Police Station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Jason Brosnan said police were also investigating a complaint made by the man against a protester for allegedly striking him

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with a corflute sign. The Dawson MP disputed the claim he had been promoting violence. But, Mr Christensen said he was surprised things had not gotten more physical sooner. “I know they have a right to peaceful process but they are actually out there being very confrontational and in a lot of cases conducting themselves illegally,” Mr Christensen said. “People are frustrated, people are upset, their livelihoods have been put on hold. “I think it’s just a matter of time before things spill over even more.” $

George Christensen’s vile Facebook post encourages cyberbullies Jenna Price, Brisbane Times, 19/02/2018

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young gets messages about her vagina every day. Here’s what prompted the latest one. Hanson-Young reposted [George Christensen’s] gun image on Twitter with just one word: “Idiot.” She followed with a meaningful excoriation of Christensen’s post. “A member of Parliament inciting violence against a group of voters should be a sackable offence. If the leader of the Nationals had any class, he’d sack him.” And so, on Sunday night, she received an email from “”. The subject line read: “Bullets.” And the message: “Hopefully George has one left in the chamber to fire directly into your vagina you hysterical fucking c---.” And because we have politicians like Christensen, we accept that jokes about violence are OK. Christensen’s post on Facebook gives abusers licence to abuse. Or worse.

Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

27 February 2018 news-story/665fa2d8ad7093e3c41b2020711e7493

Byron Bay council bans Adani and ignores coal expansion in NSW Tony Raggatt, Townsville Bulletin, 22/02/2018

Byron Bay Shire Council has been accused of ignoring big coal expansion in NSW as it promotes bans on Adani’s Carmichael project in central Queensland. Meanwhile, Whitsunday regional councillor Mike Brunker says a Byron Bay council letter sent to councils nationally asking them to join the ban is insulting and ridiculous. The Bulletin asked the Byron Bay council if it was being hypocritical banning relationships with companies involved with Adani and not opposing coal exports from Newcastle. Cr Richardson said Adani was different because it was developing a new mine. Whitsunday Regional Council has written back to Byron Bay Shire saying it will continue to work with Adani on the Carmichael mine. $

Townsville Council cancels anti-Adani film screening due to “safety concerns” Clare Armstrong, Townsville Bulletin, 22/02/2018

Townsville City Council has been accused of stifling “free speech” after cancelling the screening of an anti-Adani documentary. A letter obtained by the Bulletin from Townsville council CEO Adele Young to the NQCC cited “safety concerns” as the reason for the cancellation. NQCC president Wendy Tubman said she was initially told the cancellation was due to the “political” nature of the documentary. “Council’s attempt to stifle public education and debate on a matter of huge local, national and international interest is unacceptable. Free speech is a fundamental part of our democratic system.” Mayor Jenny Hill said the council only acted on the advice of police. “There are some very ‘hot heads’ out there ... we took the advice from the police and we’ll stand by that advice,” she said. Ms Hill said she didn’t want to “aggravate” existing issues in the community. “To be honest, keeping the parties as far away from each other as possible

is the best thing we can do right now,” she said. $

Adani abandons March funding deadline for $16.5b Carmichael mine Mark Ludlow, AFR, 21/02/2018

Indian energy company Adani has scrapped its March deadline to secure funding for the first stage of its $16.5 billion Carmichael mine, casting further doubt on whether the controversial project will ever get off the ground. [Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten said] “There’s nothing wrong with demanding that Adani stack up commercially and environmentally, and no amount of pressure from Adani is going to make me back off standing to make sure that the deals actually add up financially and add up environmentally.” Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union president Tony Maher also this week questioned the quality of the thermal coal in the Galilee Basin, saying it was “poor”. Adani confirmed the company was still looking at selling an equity stake to fill the $3.3 billion funding shortfall in the $6.7 billion first stage of the project. Despite urging by federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan to explore other rail options into the Galilee Basin, Adani is adamant it wants to keep a vertically-integrated business model where it owns all aspects of the supply chain in Australia (mine, rail and port) and to its power stations in India. feb/22/adani-abandons-march-deadline-to-secure-fundingfor-carmichael-coalmine

Adani abandons March deadline to secure funding for Carmichael coalmine Michael Slezak, The Guardian, 22/02/2018

Adani’s plan to build Australia’s largest coalmine has suffered another setback. The company has abandoned its March deadline for securing financing for the first stage of the Carmichael mine. A spokeswoman for Adani Australia told the Guardian the March deadline was predicated on the company receiving a subsidised loan from the Australian government through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif). Since the Queensland Labor government has said it would veto any such loan, she said the financing timeline was now pushed back. The spokeswoman would not confirm

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what the new funding timeline was, saying it was “commercial in confidence”.

Adani abandons another funding deadline, prompting more doubts about giant coalmine

Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13

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The Labor frontbencher has effectively ruled out Labor overhauling the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conversation Act as part of a strategy to boost legal options of killing the controversial Queensland coal project.

Josh Robertson, ABC, 22/02/2018

Adani has abandoned another deadline for securing finance on Australia’s largest proposed coalmine, prompting Labor leader Bill Shorten to ridicule the idea that “some billionaire [will] come down in a helicopter and rescue” regional Queensland. Mr Shorten, after a series of public forums in Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton this week, said there needed to be “a plan for jobs that just doesn’t rely on a billionaire multinational coal company coming in with this very controversial project that has a lot of detractors”. “Labor’s plan is to diversify the economy in central and north Queensland, not to pretend that there’s going to be some billionaire come down in a helicopter and rescue it all, because I just don’t believe that,” he said. adani-mining-giant-facing-renewed-claims-of-600m-inindia

Adani mining giant facing renewed claims of $600m fraud in India

Michael Safi, The Guardian, 22/02/2018

India’s customs department has revived allegations of a US$600m financial fraud against the Adani Group, challenging an order clearing the mining giant last year as “erroneous, illegal and improper”. Adani has been fighting allegations for the past four years that it used a shell company in Dubai to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from the company’s books into Adani family tax havens overseas. feb/22/anthony-albanese-hard-to-see-adani-project-goingahead

Anthony Albanese rules out retrospective legislation to fight Adani Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 22/02/2018

Anthony Albanese says Labor should not single out existing projects, like the Adani coalmine, that have already gone through approval processes “and then retrospectively change existing laws, which would have ramifications across the board”. queensland-government/green-activist-offers-to-droppolice-complaint-against-rogue-mp-george-christensen/ news-story/28e3f7cd3c568338ad9ae9f306b14ed4

Green activist offers to drop police complaint against rogue MP George Christensen

Peter Michael, Courier-Mail, 23/02/2018

Green activist Ben Pennings has offered to drop a police complaint and cook a “non-vegan dinner” for rogue Nationals MP George Christensen. The Mackay-based politician sparked uproar with a post of himself holding a pistol and a caption: “Do you feel lucky, Greenie punks”. The 45-year-old “Greenie” took to social media to invite Big George over to dinner at his inner-Brisbane home. He told how the Federal MP and his kids had a mutual interest in Doctor Who. $

Crunch time for Labor’s decision on Adani

Margaret Gleeson, Green Left Weekly, 23/02/2018

Less than three weeks out from the Batman byelection, Labor has yet to announce a definitive policy on Adani’s Carmichael coalmine. Climate activists have focused their campaign on calling for Labor to announce that in government it would reverse existing approvals for new coalmines in the Galilee Basin. Labor leader Bill Shorten has responded with statements that have been interpreted as being “tougher on Adani”, but that have fallen far short of the demands of the movement which regards Labor as still straddling the fence.

Jackie Trad ‘disappointed’ over Adani funding delay for Carmichael mine Mark Ludlow & Jacob Greber, AFR, 22/02/2018

Acting Queensland Premier Jackie Trad has slammed Indian energy company Adani for abandoning another key milestone for its controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael mega mine in the Galilee Basin. As federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese hit out at the Greens and forces within his own party who are demanding Bill Shorten pledge to overturn regulatory approvals for the Adani project, Ms Trad called on Adani to get on and build the project saying they were letting down regional Queensland.

While protesters and pollies squabble: What’s Adani doing?

Troy Kippen, Daily Mercury, 23/02/2018

While politicians squabble on who is and isn’t supporting Adani and the mining industry, the mining giant is getting on with the job at hand. According to an Adani spokesperson, the energy giant was negotiating with contractors on major supply packages, civil/earthwork, track work and signalling and communication packages for its rail network. In February, Isaac Regional Council reached a ‘substantial’ agreement with Adani on its roads. Under the agreement, Adani would maintain Moray-Carmichael Rd, Moray-Bulliwallah Rd and New Twin Hills Rd. An Adani spokesperson also revealed work has started in earnest at the mine site. “We are about to commence detailed design for the airport, communication tower and coal handling and processing plant,” the spokesperson said. “We are about to commence drilling of test bores as well as installing additional monitoring bores.” adani-stalling-on-mine-funding-qld-govt/news-story/df44fe66c77a79dbcfe0bbdd08728f79

Adani stalling on mine funding: Qld govt Stuart Layt, NewsCorp, 23/02/2018

Adani has fired back at the Queensland government, saying it is to blame, after Acting Premier Jackie Trad accused the Indian miner of stalling on funding for

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its controversial Carmichael coal mine. “The March deadline was set before the NAIF loan veto,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “We remain 100 per cent committed to the Carmichael project. We are confident of securing financing.” The Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said “policy uncertainty” was causing international investors to be wary of investing in a coal project in Queensland. “Investors don’t like surprises, which is why the sector is always talking about the need for policy certainty,” Mr Macfarlane said in a statement.

COAL ROCKS ON choking-on-data-singleton-hospital-emergency-admissions-jump-as-air-quality-falls/?cs=305

Upper Hunter residents seek urgent meeting with NSW Environment Protection Authority Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, 21/02/2018

Upper Hunter residents have sought an urgent meeting with the NSW Environment Protection Authority after data showing a dramatic spike in Singleton emergency department admissions in 2017 coinciding with declining air quality. Singleton Hospital admissions jumped by 28.6 per cent between July-September, 2016 and July-September, 2017, the NSW Planning Assessment Commission was told during a presentation by Doctors for the Environment. Upper Hunter residents Alan Leslie, John Krey, Wendy Wales and Bev Smiles, and Environmental Justice Australia researcher James Whelan, have sought an urgent meeting with EPA acting chief executive Mark Gifford after calling on the authority to review and strengthen its regulatory approach. “EPA staff routinely refer to Dust Stop as the remedy to this problem. It clearly is not. Dust Stop was launched in 2013 and particle pollution concentrations have continued to exceed the national standards during the five years since then,” the group said. “Meanwhile, more mine expansions have been approved, adding to the burden. We have no confidence that the EPA will protect our communities from air pollution without additional and decisive measures.” Mr Leslie was incensed when a complaint to Upper Hunter MP

A Hunter Valley coal mine, 2017. Photo: Lock the Gate

Michael Johnsen about deteriorating air quality, based on the monitoring network’s own data, were responded to by Hunter parliamentary secretary Scot MacDonald, who said the EPA had been in contact with Mr Leslie over several years and had given him a “detailed explanation” of what it was doing in response. “I have not had a response from the EPA which is why we are seeking a meeting,” Mr Leslie said. Mr Whelan said the exceedances and data showed “a clear failure by the EPA to uphold its legislated responsibility, which is to manage air quality in order to protect community health”. He described the Dust Stop program as a “public relations strategy”.

‘I’ve spent my life savings fighting a mine company’ Troy Kippen, Gladstone Observer, 20/02/2018

Scottville resident Garry Reed has been fighting the company, QCoal for almost a decade to stop [its expansion]. The local farmer said he had heard from other concerned residents that QCoal’s Sonoma Mine was going to start the diversion work of Coral Creek soon so it could access coal under the existing watercourse, under works approved by the State Government in 2010. He said when the Land Court made its decision in support of the mine’s expansion he had no money left to

appeal the decision. He said he already spent about $250,000 in legal costs to stop the mine and was penniless. “I started out on my challenge to the diversion and mining of Coral Creek in the Land Court with the help of the public interest solicitors, the Environmental Defenders Office of North Qld and a private barrister, and was threatened with $3.7million of costs by QCoal’s lawyers before the election of the Newman LNP government that quickly defunded the two EDOs in Queensland,” he said. “I went on to pay over $250,000 to private lawyers, spending all of my and my father’s savings and most of my superannuation.” The mine, about six kilometres south of Collinsville, produces four million tonnes of hard coking and thermal coal each year.

Mining giant blasted by community isolated for months by earthquake-like crack in road Rachel McGhee, ABC, 22/02/2018

A central Queensland community has lashed-out at resources giant Anglo American over its slow response in repairing a huge earthquake-like crack in a vital access road to the small town of Moura last year. A resident of Gibihi Road, Kristine Brown, is just one of many residents of the Banana Shire whose life has been dramatically inconvenienced by the road closure.

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“This happened four months ago,” she said. “And in that four months we’ve had no contact from council or Anglo [American] with regard to any updates on what’s happening with the road.” Ms Brown has two young children whose trip to school has gone from 10 minutes to half an hour. “We’ve lost access to a school bus, we’ve lost access to mail delivery, we’ve lost access to emergency services. We had six snake bites and we lost three dogs for the sheer fact we couldn’t get to town in time to save our dogs,” she said. Anglo American’s Australian leadership team CEO David Diamond fronted the first of several community consultations, saying he was sorry for the trouble it has caused. He was met with fiery statements from angry residents who said his plans and lack of response to the community over the last four months was not good enough. A group of people are also planning to launch a class action against Anglo American in a bid to get compensation for the community’s inconveniences. queensland-drops-from-list-of-worlds-best-mining-provinces-for-investors/news-story/eefdaff545c12721e308f525b8febc2a?login=1

Queensland drops from list of world’s best mining provinces for investors John McCarthy, Courier-Mail, 24/02/2018

After years of confusion over the Adani and New Acland coal projects, Queensland has fallen off the list of the best mining provinces in the world for investment. The Fraser Institute list cited falls in Queensland’s policy environment, which has dropped every year since 2013, as a sign that business leaders lack confidence in the State Government. Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Chain of Responsibility laws, which allow the Government to prosecute directors and potentially major shareholders over environmental issues, was still a problem for Japanese investors. The Fraser Institute said every Australian jurisdiction fell in the rankings, in an indication of “increasingly unattractive government regulations across the country’’. $

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Environment watchdog could slap tougher emissions caps on power plants Adam Carey, The Age, 24/02/2018

Victoria’s environmental watchdog is reviewing the licences of the state’s three remaining coal-fired power plants, amid claims toxic emissions have contributed to an unusually high number of low-birthweight babies in the Latrobe Valley and even poisoned native dolphins. The Environment Protection Authority is considering imposing tighter emissions caps on the three power stations, Yallourn, Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B, which together supply about 80 per cent of the state’s electricity. In a submission to the EPA, voluntary organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia, whose scientific committee includes three former Australians of the year, has emphasised the potentially deadly health impacts of such emissions. Their submission points to a recent US study that tied sulphur emissions from coal-fired power plants to low-birthweight babies downwind, and noted that there are more low-birthweight babies born in the Latrobe Valley than the statewide average.  “The incidence of low birthweight in these areas is 8.5 per cent, which is higher than the Victorian average of 6.6 per cent,” the submission states. The EPA review has also heard that mercury emissions into the ocean food chain could also explain why a dolphin that lives in the Gippsland Lakes has among the highest recorded mercury levels of marine mammals in the world. The Burrunan dolphin is an extremely rare marine mammal that lives almost exclusively in the Gippsland Lakes and Port Phillip Bay. A recent analysis on behalf of legal group Environmental Justice Australia estimated the three Victorian power plants emit about 3.3 tonnes of mercury per year.


Chinchilla landholders fight salt storage approval neighbouring their properties Lucy Kinbacher, Queensland Country Life, 16/02/2018

Chinchilla landholders are calling for

the Federal Government to intervene and stop a waste salt landfill site approved beside river systems and priority agricultural land. The commercial salt storage facility situated on Baking Board Hill was approved by the Western Downs Regional Council last year after an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court. The project from company We Kando Pty Ltd would store up to 450,000 tonnes of waste landfill, 900,000 tonnes of product salt landfill and 45,000 tonne of waste salt landfill each year. Local landholders of the Cameby Concerned Citizens Group are now fighting to have the approved facility overturned due to its locality within 500m of Stockyard Creek which flowed into Rocky Creek and then on to the Condamine River.  Cameby Concerned Citizens Group member Glen Beasley said nearby landholders were of the understanding it would be within 50m of the creek and feared salt could make it into the river systems or onto their land.  “People here are tired and they are sick of fighting and fighting and fighting,” he said.  “This can be Linc Energy mark two.” The salt facility plans come as Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles visited Hopeland, south of Chinchilla on Monday to address soil gas contamination concerns.

Land Court encourages CSG mediation Brooke Duncan, Chinchilla News, 21/02/2018

Miles locals have had the chance to learn about options besides court to settle land disputes at a meeting held by the GasFields Commission last Wednesday morning. Land Court member Peta Stilgoe addressed attendees, discussing the court’s alternative dispute resolution options and explaining the Land Court process. Gasfields Commission Queensland CEO Carolyn Collins said there have been improvements to companies’ community engagement processes over time, but acknowledged the struggles for some communities. “I think everybody’s recognised that wasn’t done particularly well in the beginning,” she said.

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Gearing up to fight CCS

Alex Ford, Gippsland Times, 19/02/2018

A meeting at the Longford Hall about the CarbonNet project, partly organised by Friends of the Earth, has held up the Lock the Gate movement as an example of how to fight large projects. CarbonNet is a state and federal investigation into carbon capture and storage in Bass Strait. Residents have been protesting the project, saying they were not consulted properly, and now say the seismic survey has disturbed their sleep and caused other woes for them and their families. Friends of the Earth campaign manager and environmental scientist Cam Walker spoke about carbon capture and storage, noting it could be used for industrial purposes but not coal power generation, and there were still many unanswered questions involving piping and wells, which could affect the environment. He was upfront and honest about his point of view as a member of a green group, and added he once thought carbon capture storage could be an answer to reducing emissions, but concluded the technology was always “over the rainbow” and far too expensive. b62531f1abd0a1a8048a746ce60c3522

More gas needed to meet demand: Beach Matt Chambers, The Australian, 20/02/2018

Beach Energy has warned of a looming east coast gas shortage, saying new discoveries and resources not currently seen as economic will be needed to meet future demand from domestic markets and Queensland’s big LNG plants. There are growing concerns about how much of Queensland’s vast coalseam gas fields, slated to feed Gladstone’s big LNG plants for at least the next 20 years, will be able to produce. This was underlined recently when Origin Energy wrote down the value and reserves of its Ironbark CSG, despite soaring gas prices. $

Gasfields in the NT’s Amadeus Basin could bring fracking close to Australia’s best known tourist attractions. Photo: Kata Tjuta – Eve Sinton

Northern Territory’s largest onshore gas producer to increase exploration Katrina Beavan, ABC, 26/02/2018

While Territorians await the final report from the inquiry into hydraulic fracking, to be released next month, the NT’s largest onshore gas producer is ramping up production. Central Petroleum will be drilling up to four new wells in March, in an effort to source gas to fill the Northern Gas Pipeline. As Central Petroleum use conventional methods to extract the gas, rather than unconventional extraction, or ‘fracking’, the current NT moratorium in place does not apply to their wells. The panel for the fracking inquiry visited the Mereenie field, to examine what impact the gas field had had on the environment. According to the final draft report from the NT fracking inquiry, released last December, approximately one third of the wells on Mereenie had already been hydraulically fractured.


Knitting Nannas gave baby booties to Barnaby Joyce before scandal broke Damon Cronshaw, Newcastle Herald, 20/02/2018

A nanna always knows. This old saying proved true when Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce hit the headlines for knocking up one of his staffers.

You see, a couple of weeks before the scandal broke, Northern Daily Leader reporter Jamieson Murphy wrote a prophetic piece about the protest group, the Knitting Nannas.  The Nannas had gathered out the front of Barnaby’s office to knit some baby booties. “Our statement was for the kiddies. We weren’t being specific,” knitting nanna Pat Schultz said, with a giggle. “I have to admit to having an inkling. You could put it down to a meaningful coincidence. That would be a good description.” Pat said that when the Nannas presented the gift to Barnaby’s receptionist, “she couldn’t stop smiling, despite the fact that she tried to”.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce owns several parcels of land 20km from the Inland rail project Sharri Markson, Daily Telegraph, 21/02/2018

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce did not declare during Cabinet discussions on the Inland Rail that he had bought five large parcels of land within a 15-minute drive from the planned route. When former Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester took the Inland Rail project to Cabinet, The Daily Telegraph understands it passed quickly, with no mention from Mr Joyce of any potential conflict of interest relating to five lots

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News this week of land he had bought within about 20km of the project. Mr Joyce purchased the first two blocks of rural land, on two separate land titles, in Warrumbungle Shire, north of Coonamble, in July 2006 for $230,000. He added to his land purchase two years later with an adjacent Gwabegar property and a second Warrumbungle property, occupying another two land titles, in February 2008 for $342,571. The value of the rural land properties near the Inland Rail route would be expected to increase when the project is complete.

SA election: Australian Conservatives launch nuclear dump idea and ridicule Elon Musk Daniel Keane, ABC, 26/02/2018

Cory Bernardi has used his party’s SA election campaign launch to push for nuclear energy in the state, and also to take aim at tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.


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The Australian Conservatives have called for law changes to allow for “all forms of energy production”, including nuclear power generation. The party also wants to put a nuclear dump back on the agenda, urging state authorities to “complete a full rigorous analysis” of the idea.

Facts don’t win emotional arguments Cheryl Cartwright, AFR, 25/02/2018

Facts are a critical requirement to back up an argument. But in the current climate of short attention spans, social media and opportunistic activism, facts are not enough. … Like many in big business, Adani has fallen for the trap of believing that providing facts should address activists’ claims. … Adani has lost the public’s support, but it shouldn’t have. There have been many occasions where plain and clear (or bland) facts have been provided, but without the “human touch”. Without that engagement, emotive,

sensitive comment outrage has filled the space. Activists can make blatantly incorrect statements and not be challenged because they appeal to emotions. One example of this is in the gas industry. Earlier developments in Queensland lost control of the discussion to the activists. … So much so that, while the companies eventually managed to improve their relationship with communities in Queensland, the debate was lost in the southern states, which now face gas bans ... Facts are essential. But activism can’t be countered with facts. No, in this age of activism, the facts and the irony can be lost in the emotion, in the outrage. Companies must get smarter – their old PR models aren’t working. It’s time to change. Cheryl Cartwright is former CEO Australian Pipelines and Gas Association, and a non-executive director.

FFB Editor’s note: Adani could start by retracting its blatantly incorrect statements about 10,000 jobs.

Barnaby has gone, for now, but Nats won’t change The National Party may have a new leader, but is unlikely to deviate from its pro-coal, pro-gas position. Commentator Mike Carlton summed it up on Twitter: “One of the big lies of politics, is that the National Party represents country folk. No it doesn’t. It’s there for Big Coal, Big Iron Ore, Big Gas, Big Sugar, Big Water, Big Beef and Big Gina.” A look at the cast of characters in the party makes it clear that the Nats are far more interessted in getting their hands on country resources like water, coal and gas than they are in the welfare of country people. Party leader Larry Anthony’s lobbying outfit in Canberra represents ERM Power, Santos and National Trunk Rail (which has an interest in the Inland Rail Project). Matthew Canavan recently stated SUBSCRIBE FREE: Email

with the word SUBSCRIBE

the coal industry was “a beautiful industry full of beautiful people who I constantly try and fight for”. George Christensen wants to shoot up ‘greenies’ and advance Adani. Barnaby Joyce failed to protect prime farmland and productive aquifers in his electorate from mining, while he was Agriculture Minister. His most powerful supporter is mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Many people working to protect the land, air and water have been concerned about the former Deputy PM’s poor judgement. The fact he knocked up his girlfriend in a bit of extra-marital grappling and thought he could keep it hushed up has implications for the rest of his decision-making. He has stubbornly clung on to prop-

erties at Gwabegar from which he stands to profit if the Pilliga gasfields are approved, and if the inland rail is routed nearby. Ironically, those properties may finally have to go on the market as part of a divorce settlement. Mungo MacCallum put it well in this week’s Byron Echo: “Eventually even his National Party claque had to admit that the situation was, as everyone was saying for days, untenable, especially after the Western Australian branch leaked the information of a complaint of sexual harassment; there were other rumours around of Joyce’s inability to keep it in his pants, and the media blitz had to be staunched.” If our environment is to be saved, not just Barnaby but the whole party has to go. Don’t vote for them!


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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13 - 27 February 2018

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Fossil Fool Bulletin 1:13 - 27 February 2018