Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas released the statement below on May 3.
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A large crowd of close to 200 people turned out for a special coal seam gas forum at the Armidale Town Hall to hear from experts who talked about the risks to water, health and the environment from coal seam gas mining.
“The great turn-out for the Forum highlights again the wide and growing community opposition to coal seam gas mining,” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas (AACSG).
“The attendees were shocked to learn that our governments have allowed this industry to roll out across NSW while there is still so much scientific uncertainty about its impacts.
“Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith informed the forum that only 2 of the 23 most commonly used fracking chemicals have been assessed by the national chemicals regulator.
“John Polglase highlighted how little is known about our underground aquifer systems and the many changes that are induced by drilling, fracking and the extraction and re-injection of vast quantities of water.
“I informed the forum that 90% of the New England-north west region is now covered by coal seam gas licences or applications and that experiences in places like the Pilliga and the Liverpool Plains has shown that there are serious risks to bushland, farmland and communities from coal seam gas mining.
“We were also fortunate to hear from the federal member for New England Tony Windsor, who spoke about his efforts to finally bring some independent scientific expertise into the mining assessment process.”
The forum passed the following resolution:
“We, members of the Armidale community present at the coal seam gas forum held at the Armidale Town Hall on May 2, 2012, support all who protested in Martin Place yesterday, May 1, 2012, and affirm that water is fundamental to life. We call on the NSW government to
1. Engage with the community in a comprehensive process before making any decisions regarding the petroleum special prospecting application for the Northern Tablelands;
2. Amend the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans to protect productive agricultural land and high biodiversity areas from coal seam gas mining and exploration
3. Protect the Great Artesian Basin and other underground water resources from being polluted by coal seam gas mining and exploration.
4. Implement a moratorium on all coal seam gas mining and exploration until all scientific uncertainties have been resolved.”
Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas will take this resolution to the NSW government and our local parliamentarians.
There will be a special follow-up meeting of Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas at 3pm, May 5 at Kent House on Faulkner St. Everyone is welcome to come and share their views and ideas on what Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas should do next to raise awareness about coal seam gas mining.