Floodgates have opened – CSG opponents

Floodgates have opened – CSG opponents by Ben Chubby, September 13, 2012, The Sydney Morning Herald
Nearby residents were taken unawares when drilling began a few weeks ago at the well site, operated by the gas company AGL, at Sydney’s south-western fringe on the banks of the Nepean River. A further 70 wells are now planned, stretching up along the city’s western boundary towards Liverpool. ”The problem is, once these areas are industrialised, they are opened up to further industrialisation,” said Jacqui Kirkby, a Scenic Hills resident, who sits on AGL’s community consultative committee. ”People say, ‘oh, you’ve already got 70 gas wells there, the area’s lost its environmental and heritage value, so we might add a light industrial estate in there too’, and so on.” When the state government released its long-awaited strategic regional land use plan on Tuesday, it also approved another pending 22 coal seam gas drilling licences across NSW. One of those is petroleum exploration licence number 2, held by AGL, which covers much of Sydney’s western suburbs. Another, held by Apex Energy, covers Sydney’s drinking water catchment, where the company hopes to drill between 150 and 200 wells to supply a fifth of Sydney’s gas.

The move met with immediate condemnation from the Lock The Gate alliance, a confederacy of people opposing coal seam gas drilling. It believes the rush of new drilling licences has ”opened the floodgates” to rapid expansion by the gas industry. ”This is a dark day for NSW and communities from all around the state have every right to feel they have been deceived by a government that promised the world and has delivered nothing,” the group said in a statement. At the AGL site, residents were notified of the latest drilling by a letterbox drop, but even so many people in the area were surprised. Campbelltown Council – often divided on environmental issues – united to condemn the plan and call for a moratorium, pointing to uncertainties around water contamination issues in the company’s own environmental impact assessment. [Emphasis added]

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