Category Archives: Media Release

PEL 463 cancelled

Cancellation of Sydney CSG licence a win for community action

The cancellation of a CSG licence over Sydney is a win for community action. Now our water catchments need to be protected from CSG mining too.

Stop CSG Sydney has welcomed the news that the Baird government has decided to cancel the coal seam gas licence covering most of metropolitan Sydney – PEL 463.

“Widespread community organising has helped deliver this outcome. The cancellation of this licence will give a big boost of confidence to the campaign to protect land and water which has so far slowed the progress of CSG extraction in NSW”, said Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney president.

PEL 463 was originally issued by the former ALP government, and renewed by the Coalition. It was due to expire in October. The licence area covers 189,000 hectares, spanning most of Sydney and its surrounds, from Gosford in the North, to Waterfall in the South, and past Blacktown in the West. Over 4 million people live in the affected area.

“Clearly, the Baird NSW government is feeling the pressure. Opposition to CSG is widespread across the state. It has splintered the Liberal-National Coalition’s base.

“The cancellation of PEL 463 is welcome – and not a moment too soon. But the community will not stop its work in protecting vital parts of NSW – such as the whole of the water catchment area, the Pilliga and Gloucester – all of which remain under threat.

“We are also concerned that the NSW government is ignoring residents in Camden, in south west Sydney who have to live with AGL’s CSG leaks, drilling under their houses and other threats from the industry”, said Ms Hinman.

“The campaign started in 2010 when residents discovered a CSG test drill was to take place in St Peters – metres from schools, parks and homes. The community got together, organised rallies, film nights, trivia night, a human sign in Sydney Park and much more,” said Louise Steer, Stop CSG Sydney’s public officer.

“The campaign to get the licence cancelled started in July 2014 when we found out Dart Energy was intending to sell the licence to a UK company IGas Inc. The NSW government approved this sale last October.

“Stop CSG Sydney believes that this cancellation is a victory for communities across the state. It should have been done long ago, and IGas doesn’t need $200,000 from the NSW state government as ‘compensation’ “, concluded Ms Steer.

For further comment contact:
Pip Hinman 0412-139-968
Lou Steer 0402-167-566

PEL463 (yellow) covered most of Sydney
PEL463 (yellow) covered most of Sydney
logo-stop-csg-sydney1260

MARRICKVILLE COUNCIL SIGNS ON TO THE CAMPAIGN TO CANCEL THE COAL SEAM GAS LICENSE COVERING SYDNEY BASIN

MEDIA RELEASE; October 14, 2014

 

Stop CSG Sydney President Pip Hinman has welcomed Marrickville Council’s decision at its meeting tonight to support the campaign to extinguish the CSG licence covering the whole of the Sydney basin.

The unanimous council decision came on the same day as the Minister for Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts announced he had cancelled three PELs in NSW.

“We’re very proud to have Marrickville council on board. It has twice spoken out in support of the residents’ campaign against coal seam gas.  Now, it has taken a further step”, said Ms Hinman.

“The council has now committed itself to a campaign to put pressure on the state government in the lead-up to the March 2015 elections to cancel the PEL 463 which extends across the Sydney basin. It will write to the minister asking that he cancel the licence, and it will publicise the issues across the Marrickville LGA.

“Council has committed to educate the LGA about the dangers of unconventional gas mining, and will erect signs around Marrickville declaring that it is a council which does not support coal seam gas.

“It has also committed to investigate a non-binding poll in the 2016 council elections on CSG as a way of adding pressure to get the licence extinguished – if it hasn’t already been cancelled”, said Ms Hinman.

Adrienne Shilling, who also spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the group, said:

“Most Marrickville residents would not be aware that there is a current licence to drill for coal seam gas (CSG) – mainly covering residential areas – across Marrickville and the Sydney basin”.

“And they wouldn’t know that the minister has given approval for Dart Energy to sell that licence to to a UK company IGas which states it doesn’t want to hold Australian assets”.

“The licence expires in October 2015. This means that CSG exploration remains a possibility – possibly after being sold back to a company with licences where fracking is already underway”.

“We want the NSW minister to cancel the licence now. Given the new 2-kilometre buffer zone laws, and the community opposition to CSG drilling, it is an anachronism that there still is a licence to drill in an area where more than 4 million people live and work”, said Ms Shilling.

A hard-fought community campaign over 2011-2012, supported by Marrickville Council, helped stop Dart Energy’s test drill plans for St Peters.

Council supported the local residents’ community group, Stop CSG Sydney (formerly Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas) in its quest to put a stop to a test drill just metres from schools and parks and homes.

 

Marrickville Council passed the following motion:

1. Supports Stop CSG Sydney’s campaign for the extinguishment of the licence held by Dart Energy to drill for coal seam gas that is in operation over the Sydney basin including parts of the Marrickville Local Government Area (PEL 463);

2. Calls on NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Minister Roberts to cancel the licence now under his current powers; and

3. Commits to supporting the campaign by:

a. Writing to the Energy and Resources Minister outlining its concerns about CSG drilling, fracking and the impact of CSG mining on groundwater, and urging the Minister not to allow the licence to be bought by UK company IGas;

b. Advertising this motion and the campaign in the next Marrickville council newsletter and on its website;

c. Erecting signs around the Marrickville LGA that it a ‘Coal Seam Gas Free’ council;

d. Committing to investigate a non-binding poll the 2016 council elections on CSG (to be run by the NSW electoral Commission) to assist the campaign to get the CSG licence extinguished (if it hasn’t already been cancelled).

Media comment:
Pip Hinman: 0412 139 968
Adrienne Shilling: 0411 550 849

STOP CSG SYDNEY

NSW CHIEF SCIENTIST WARNS OF CSG RISKS

MEDIA RELEASE October 3, 2014

 

A long-awaited report by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer was tabled on September 30.

The Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW, commissioned on February 21, 2013 by then Premier Barry O’Farrell, confirms the risks associated with CSG, notes many unknowns remain, and says government regulation of the industry needs to be overhauled.

The recommendations focus on how to develop the industry, not if or under what conditions development would be considered safe. The risks can be managed, the Review states (on page 10).

“In particularly sensitive areas, such as in and near drinking water catchments, risk management needs to be of high order with particularly stringent requirements on companies operating there in terms of management, data provision, insurance cover and incident-response times.’

The report confirms the risks that community members have been talking about for years. It states that unknowns remain and says that regulation of CSG by the NSW Government needs an overhaul.

The report also notes: “… it is inevitable that the CSG industry will have some unintended consequences, including as the result of accidents, human error, and natural disasters”.

Stop CSG Sydney believes that ‘unintended consequences’ with the industry is enough reason to immediately rule out mining in water catchment areas and adopt the precautionary principle across the rest of NSW until the science shows it is safe.

CSG exploration and mining always involves unearthing water that is high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds and heavy metals. It involves damage to aquifers, methane leaks and industrial development that are incompatible with our drinking water catchments.

CSG: Not here! Not anywhere!

 

Read the Chief Scientists’ report report here.

See Liberal MP Lee Evans’ reponse here.

See Stop CSG Illwarra’s response here.

See Lock the Gate Alliance’s response here.

See NSW Greens response here.

See Sydney Morning Herald report here.

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CSG LICENCE FREEZE EXTENSION WELCOME, BUT NOT ENOUGH

Media Release September 26, 2014

 

Stop Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Sydney welcomes the NSW government’s decision to continue its freeze on new coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licence applications.

In March, NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts announced the freeze, due to end today (September 26).
Today’s decision means the freeze will now remain in place for another year. However, this freeze doesn’t mean that existing licences are frozen. It means existing applications and licences remain in place, including PEL 463 which covers most of metropolitan Sydney.

Sandra Thomson from Stop CSG Sydney commented: “The freeze on new licences is important. But it doesn’t resolve the fact that the licence covering the Sydney basin, home to over 4 million people, is still ‘live’ and can be activated at any time”.

“The Sydney licence holder, Dart Energy Limited, an Australian company, announced on Tuesday that it had been granted NSW Ministerial approval for a change in control of the licence. This paves the way for IGas Energy plc, a company from the United Kingdom, to acquire Dart Energy.  Why has the Minister approved the transfer of this licence to an offshore company, while at the same time, freezing new licences. This was the Minister’s chance to cancel the licence over Sydney”.

“Existing licences are not frozen, so communities remain at risk. The licence blanketing metropolitan Sydney came with an obligation to drill. The community stopped a potential drill site in St Peters in 2011. Communities is Sydney and across NSW have made it clear they don’t want CSG drilling, and neither do they want a licence hanging over their heads”.

“CSG mining involves unearthing water that is high in salt and methane, and can contain toxic and radioactive compounds and heavy metals”, she continued.  “CSG drilling in the Pilliga poisoned an aquifer with uranium.  A freeze on all CSG licences is needed to investigate CSG so we can know if or under what conditions it is safe. A ban on CSG in drinking water catchments is needed”.

“While the campaign to protect our drinking water has ensured a freeze on CSG development in our catchment, it is temporary. A precautionary approach and protection of our drinking water is just common sense.”
Media enquiries:
Sandy Thompson 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman 0412 139 968

18.9.11

MEDIA RELEASE August 24, 2014

Residents say Cancel the licence

Residents across the vast licence (PEL 463) will be holding a protest on Monday September 1 to highlight their concern that a vast amount of metropolitan Sydney remains under risk of drilling for coal seam gas (CSG).

Residents from St Peters, Cronulla and Blacktown will ask the NSW government to cancel PEL 463.

Residents will be meeting at 9am in St Peters  and Cronulla to illustrate the extent of the licence and to tell the NSW government it must cancel the CSG licence covering metropolitan Sydney on Monday September 1.

PEL 463 (see map below) was granted by a Labor state government in 2008 and renewed by the Coalition until 2015. More than 4 million people live in this area.

pel463_dart_map

“The gas licence covering St Peters and most of Sydney must be cancelled”, said Pip Hinman, from Stop CSG Sydney.

“The company holding the licence – Dart Energy – is being bought by the UK-based gas giant IGas Energy which has stated that it wants to sell off its non-UK assets.

“This means that PEL 463 can remain ‘live’ and be sold on to another unconventional gas company at a later date. This is not an option for the community .

“We stopped a test drill at St Peter’s in 2012 just metres from schools, parks and homes. We w a nt to end the uncertainty and get the licence extinguished”, said Ms Hinman .

“The NSW government’s decisions to establish CSG exclusion zones is a welcome step. But they do not go far enough”, said Melinda Wilson from CSG Free Western Sydney.

“Under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, the Energy and Resources Minister can cancel licences on a variety of grounds. They include: failure to meet licence conditions, including drilling within a specified time, financial standing and ability to comply with regulations. Dart has failed to meet the conditions of its licence.

“Communities do not want fracking near our homes or in our water catchments. We have seen and experienced the damage. We do not want this licence to be on-sold to  a company AGL which has a licence nearby in Camden and is keen to expand”, said Ms Wilson.

Residents will meet at the corner of Campbell and Euston Roads in St Peters  and at the end of Kingsway in Cronulla on Monday September 1 at 9-10am (to coincide with Dart’s AGM in Brisbane).

 

Media inquiries: 

Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney  0412 139 968

Melinda   Wilson : CSG Free Western Sydney (02) 9622 4820

Colin Ryan: Stop CSG Sutherland 0448 689 565

MEDIA RELEASE: August 6, 2014

18.9.11 Anti csg march

Stop CSG Sydney is still to receive a response from Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts requesting he cancel PEL 463 – the coal seam gas (CSG) licence that covers the Sydney basin.*

Stop CSG Sydney is a community group campaigning against coal seam gas exploration and drilling. It formed to oppose a test drill site in St Peters, discovered by accident at the end of 2011.

Since then, it has organised community petitions, marches, film screenings and motions to council opposing CSG in the inner west and beyond. The new CSG regulations, bought in by the NSW government, prohibit CSG drilling closer than 2 kilometres from urban areas.

When Stop CSG Sydney found out that the licence covering most of Sydney was about to be transferred to UK-based company IGas Energy Plc as part of its buy out of Dart energy, it launched its “Cancel the Licence” campaign.

“We know that IGas Energy has publicly stated it wants to divest all non-UK assets of Dart at a time when it is ‘commercially attractive’ to do so, and ‘with a view to maximising cash returns’”, said Sandra Thompson, spokesperson for Stop CSG Sydney.

“We have confirmed that Dart Energy – which owns PEL 463 via its subsidiary Macquarie Energy – is urging its shareholder to vote in favour of the sale,

“We have also confirmed that IGas received Foreign Investment Review Board approval on July 30 for the sale to take place. That means that the federal government has approved the sale”, Ms Thompson said.

Pip Hinman, another spokesperson, said: “However, we know that the community in urban Sydney doesn’t want CSG. Dart was pressured out of undertaking its test drill in St Peters because of community pressure.

“We have written to the minister, urging him to prevent the sale of PEL 463 to IGas Energy and cancel the licence for good.

“Where’s the logic in allowing the sale to go ahead when communities do not want CSG, the licence covers mainly urban Sydney, and the NSW regulations on CSG prevent drilling from happening?”, asked Ms Hinman.

Media comment:
Sandy Thompson, Stop CSG Sydney President 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney, Vice President 0412 139 968

 

* Below is a copy of the letter ?Stop CSG Sydney sent to the Minister.

 

The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP
Minister for Resources and Energy
Level 37 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000

office@roberts.minister.nsw.gov.au

Dear Mr Roberts

Transfer of licence Petroleum Export Licence 463

Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney Inc is a non-partisan group of citizens who are concerned about the rapid expansion of unconventional gas extraction.

We are not anti-mining, but we believe that until the method of extracting coal seam gas has been scientifically assessed and proven to be safe,the industry should not be given licences to frack – in urban or rural NSW.

The pollution and health problems generated from CSG fields in Queensland are cause enough for communities across NSW to be extremely cautious. Until the industry has been proven to be safe for our health, land and water we do not believe it should be given licences for test drilling and more.

As you are aware, the Petroleum Exploration Licence 463 (the licence), currently held by Macquarie Energy Pty Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Dart Energy Limited, covers the greater part of the Sydney basin, home to some 4 million people.

On May 9, 2014 Dart Announced that it is in the process of being acquired by the UK-based company IGas Energy Plc, with a clearly stated intention to divest all non-UK assets of Dart. The transfer of Dart’s exploration licences to IGas fails to serve the public interest.

Minister Roberts, as per the petroleum exploration licence conditions relating to PEL 463, your written approval is required prior to ‘any change in the effective control of the licence holder’ or ‘any foreign acquisition of substantial control in the licence holder’.[1]

Stop CSG Sydney strongly urges you to deny approval. This is a valuable opportunity for the NSW Government to align the status of the licence with your current policy on coal seam gas exclusion zones[2]that does not allow coal seam gas drilling within 2 kilometres of residential areas.

Stop CSG Sydney and concerned community members are requesting that you do not allow the transfer of the licence that covers an area of 2.400 square kilometres, covers the City of Sydney and extends from the northern part of Illawarra to the southern Newcastle coalfields.

Further, we ask that you use this opportunity to cancel the licence that was issued without any consultation with the people living under this licence.

Finally, we request a meeting with you to discuss these matters further. Sandra Thompson can be contacted by email at sandrathompson72@gmail.com.au or by phone on 0403 195 627.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Sandra Thompson Ms Pip Hinman
President Vice President

on behalf of Stop CSG Sydney Inc
Please provide an acknowledgment of receipt of this letter.

[1]Clause 45 and 46, Second Schedule Petroleum Exploration Licence Conditions 2012.

[2]Coal seam gas exclusion zones http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-exclusion-zones