Updated: September 13, 2012
Ready to raze NSW: O’Farrell gives green light to coal seam gas licences
Today the O’Farrell Government has put 22 exploration licences up for renewal, including the controversial coal seam gas exploration licence PEL 458 in Fullerton Cove which is in the midst of legal proceedings, and PEL 238 in the Pilliga Forest which is currently subject to a NSW government investigation for damage and misconduct.
“The O’Farrell government has recklessly given these coal seam gas companies the green light to renew their exploration licences despite a record in NSW of toxic coal seam gas water spills, community opposition and regulatory failures,” said Prue Bodsworth of the Wilderness Society.
“By offering these licence renewals, 21.3% of the State will be covered by coal seam gas exploration, which is far too high considering the massive risks to our food-producing land, water catchments and health.
“O’Farrell has now actively opened up over five million hectares for coal seam gas mining, putting a dark cloud of gas drilling over millions of NSW residents and our most special natural areas and waterways.
Just two weeks ago, Barry O’Farrell on Sydney 2GB radio blamed the former government for the expanse of coal seam gas exploration licences in NSW stating, ‘I wish I could unpick the coal seam gas exploration licences granted under the former Labor government’.
“Through this announcement, the O'Farrell Government has endorsed the previous Government’s work to cover the state in mining exploration licences, failing the people of NSW and back flipping on his election promises,” said Ms Bodsworth.
“O’Farrell is now gutlessly working with the miners, failing to cancel poor performing gas drilling operations such as Dart Energy's Fullerton Cove exploration licence that had incurred a number of high level non-compliances earlier this year.
“O’Farrell has also blindly renewed Santos coal seam gas PEL 238 in the Pilliga Forest which is currently subject to a NSW government investigation for environmental damage, toxic spills and misconduct.
“It would be very reasonable for Barry O’Farrell to instruct the Minister for Energy Chris Hartcher to pause the Dart Energy Fullerton Cove exploration licence and the Santos Pilliga Forest licence until legal and government investigations are complete,” she said.
Contact: Prue Bodsworth, 0427 417 870
Naomi Hogan, 0401 650 411
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Newcastle Inc
Hunter Heritage Centre,
90 Hunter Street,
Newcastle, NSW, 2300
Phone: 02 4929 4395