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Issue #1546      9 May 2012

Report confirms Coal Seam Gas a risk

Lock the Gate Alliance President Drew Hutton has labelled the NSW Legislative Council Report into Coal Seam Gas a clear statement that the coal seam gas industry is a risk to our agricultural land, water and environment.

Part of the crowd at the No Gas Rally in Sydney last Tuesday (May 1).
(Photo: Denis Doherty)

Mr Hutton said, “This report is an amber light at best for the coal seam gas industry and recognises that significant work needs to be done to clear up uncertainty surrounding groundwater, fugitive emissions and land use impacts.

“The O’Farrell government should implement most of these recommendations immediately but that would not clear the way for the industry in NSW.”

Mr Hutton said it was also clear from the Protect Our Land and Water Rally in Sydney last week that the community is convinced Mr O’Farrell’s land use policy is not a suitable regulatory response to the risks of coal seam gas.

The report also recognises the “deficiencies” in the land use policy with significant areas of agricultural land as well as urban and coastal areas impacted by CSG exploration being left out completely.

“Lock the Gate takes particular exception to the rejection by the majority of the committee members to a good suggestion by the Greens in the committee to require a full cost benefit analysis of a project before any approval is considered.

“This should be a minimum standard and if the government is so convinced of the benefits of this industry, let them show that through a cost benefit analysis.”

The Alliance noted the failure to introduce a moratorium, given the risks identified in the report, is “a slap in the face” to a community who put thousands of hours into meetings and research to prepare detailed responses to the inquiry and in making representations at meetings around the state.

“Clearly this industry does not have a social licence to operate and I am confident this report will not be seen by the community as a justification to support this industry.

“The Community will recognise the report raises many serious questions about the ability for this industry to operate safely and will no doubt continue to impose a community moratorium on this industry in NSW and keep their gates locked until the government delivers their response to the report,” Mr Hutton said.  

Next article – Campaign aimed at justice for our youth

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