AGL temporarily backs down from Sydney fracking plans

AGL temporarily backs down from Sydney fracking plans by Alex Heber, February 11, 2013
AGL has temporarily withdrawn its plans to drill 66 coal seam gas wells in Western Sydney. On Friday the company said it had asked the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to suspend its assessment process, citing ”community concerns” as the main reason for the backdown. The gas company has been involved in ”ongoing discussions” with the state government and it is understood the company has every intention to push on with the drilling project after community consultation, the SMH reported. It wants to drill wells at a dozen sites between Liverpool and Campbelltown. … ”I can appreciate the natural cynicism amongst a few, but the fact is I would never compromise a company’s financial position on the basis of politics. I said to the industry 18 months ago that they need to get out of urban areas, the Hunter Valley and northern NSW if they are going to go ahead. That position hasn’t changed.” But NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said the news was a ”cynical PR stunt by a company desperate to get their contentious project out of the spotlight of a federal election campaign in the marginal electorates”. … If the AGL project is eventually approved, the Greens said at the time that fracking is inevitable under Sydney. ”Our aquifers and geological formations are like Humpty Dumpty, once you’ve fracked it, you can’t put it back together again,” Greens member Jeremy Buckingham said. ”Barry O’Farrell should act now to protect land and water rather than leaving it to a future government to say sorry for the damage done by fracking for coal seam gas.”

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