Updated: November 14, 2011
NSW Government All At Sea over CSG
The Wilderness Society (Newcastle) Inc.
15 November 2011
Environment groups have responded to news that the NSW Government plans to stop a single coal seam gas pilot production well on the Liverpool Plains with calls for a far more extensive moratorium.
The Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries stated on ABC radio this morning that all coal seam gas exploration in NSW would be suspended until a much tighter regulatory regime was in place, but he was then over-ruled by Energy and Resources Minister, Chris Hartcher, who said that the halt on drilling was limited to Santo's Spring Ridge operations near Gunnedah.
"The statements today suggest that the NSW Government is in complete disarray over its coal seam gas policy" said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment.
"An ad hoc decision to suspend drilling at one site only is a very strange move - if coal seam gas drilling is not safe then it should be suspended everywhere until scientific studies are completed."
"Kevin Humphries stated this morning that a 'tighter regime was needed when it came to water or aquifer interference’. If the rules are not tight enough then pilot production should not be proceeding anywhere in NSW."
"However, pilot production is being conducted by Santos right now just an hour away from Gunnedah in the Pilliga Forest which is the southern recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin” she said.
"We are calling on the NSW Government to suspend all coal seam gas wells in NSW if they are serious about having a credible policy on coal seam gas in NSW" said Prue Bodsworth of The Wilderness Society Newcastle.
Prue continued "At the very least, they must ensure that all Santos pilot production wells are suspended and that they do not allow drilling through the Great Artesian Basin while they themselves have acknowledged there are real risks to water and aquifers".
For information or comment contact:
Carmel Flint: 0400 521 474
Prue Bodsworth: 0427 417 870
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Newcastle Inc
Hunter Heritage Centre,
90 Hunter Street,
Newcastle, NSW, 2300
Phone: 02 4929 4395