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.”
Sandy Thompson 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman 0412 139 968