Coal seam gas arrests
TWO Northern Rivers residents have been arrested at a blockade against coal seam gas mining yesterday in Queensland.
The arrests came on day two of a blockade of an Arrow Energy drilling site on a farm at Kerry, near Beaudesert.
Wanda Halden, of Larnook, and Alan Roberts, of Kyogle, were charged for contravening a direction after they refused a police request to move.
The pair had been among 50 protesters who were blocking access to the site early yesterday morning when eight police cars arrived at the scene.
"The police explained our rights to us and said we would be arrested if we did not move," Ms Halden said.
When the police gave the order to move all but three did so.
Ms Halden then lay down on a placard to resist a police attempt to move her, after which she was picked up by five police officers and put into a paddy wagon.
So far 12 people have been arrested at the site with one protestor scaling a seven metre high drilling rig.
Daniel Robins, who climbed the rig yesterday morning, said he would not come down until he had spoken to an Arrow executive.
"I came here with a documentary film maker, and both of us said that we definitely didn't want to get arrested today, we just wanted to help the community," the 28-year-old NSW schoolteacher said.
"Then the police moved everyone out of the way and drilling was going to commence... and I jumped the fence and climbed up here.
"It was the only way I could see that was going to stop the drilling and it has."
Mr Robins said the protesters wanted baseline water tests to be conducted on local aquifers before drilling was allowed to begin.
"We need to know what is in there now, because after drilling, once it's contaminated we have to know who is responsible," he said.
An Arrow Energy spokesman said the wells being drilled at the site were being used to obtain geological information and were not to be used in gas production.
A Northern Rivers convoy travelled to Kerry on Thursday and it us understood more people from the region are currently on their way to the blockade.
All people charged have been ordered to appear in Beaudesert Court next month.
Ms Halden said she plans to return to the blockade on Monday and has invited anyone who wants to join her to contact her on 0427302725.