23 November 2011
The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has condemned the approval of a coal seam gas well within the Special Catchment Area on the Illawarra Plateau, saying it highlights the need for a moratorium on the industry.
The Planning Assessment Commission approved the drilling by Apex Energy under the old Part 3A arrangements despite concerns by the Special Catchment Authority that a future production field could see 150 coal seam gas wells in the area.
“The coal seam gas industry continues to roll out under the O’Farrell Government, highlighting the need for a moratorium on the industry,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“This brings us a step closer to 150 coal seam gas wells draining aquifers and gas in the Special Catchment Areas that supply drinking water to 4.3 million people in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area.
“The government has a chance to correct this decision by voting for the Greens’ Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill later this week. The Bill would put a 12 month moratorium on the industry and prohibit mining in the Sydney Metropolitan Area and Special Catchment.”
The Planning Assessment Commission cites the government’s pro-mining submission to the current Parliamentary Inquiry into CSG as a reason to continue to approve coal seam gas projects:
“The Commission carefully considered the NSW Government Submission to this Inquiry as indicating the present and possible future position of the Government on this matter. The Commission is not aware at this stage of development of policy and regulation of [soc] any regulatory or policy constraints which would preclude exploration or extraction of coal seam gas in this area”
Jeremy Buckingham said: “Responsibility for coal seam gas drilling in this sensitive area now lies clearly at the feet of Premier O’Farrell and Minister Hartcher.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916