Greens launch CSG moratorium bill in NSW

Photo: Kate Ausburn

On Friday June 3, NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham launched a bill in state parliament that would place a 12-month moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in NSW and prohibit CSG mining in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Speaking at the bill launch, Buckingham pointed out the risks associated with CSG extraction, including wastewater, fugitive emissions, land impact and depletion of aquifers.

Buckingham said investment in the CSG industry would come at the cost of real investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind.

He also addressed the impact of CSG on Australia's capacity to produce food: “You can't have clean green agriculture and coal seam gas. This industry can not co-exist with viable agriculture.”

The CSG Moratorium Bill aims to impose a ban on CSG development in the Sydney metropolitan area.

In a June 4 statement, Buckingham said: “All of Sydney is covered by Dart's petroleum exploration licence, with an estimated 13 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the coal seams below Sydney, so it's not just St Peters residents who should be concerned.

“Dart Energy’s motto for coal seam gas in Australia, ‘Grow Big, Grow Fast’, should be a warning bell.

“This reckless industry needs to be brought under control by the O'Farrell government.”

The CSG is largely self-regulated and many community groups are calling for tougher environmental risk assessment and community consultation.

[If you are concerned about CSG mining, you can find your local campaign group at Lock the Gate. Sydney residents can get in contact with Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas.]

Comments

Top article Kate, and very good quotes from Jeremy. A clarification though, it's important to note that the bill will create a moratorium on new production and exploration licences only; it wont affect current licences. This means, for example, that exploration drilling in the Illawarra can continue if the bill gets up, something that is very concerning to us involved in the Illawarra campaign.
The Sydney metro ban is also of concern, given the dangers associated with CSG exist right across the state. We need a strong and united campaign across NSW to pressure for a clear moratorium on all projects, and saving the metro area in isolation might undermine the campaign's unity. Better to stick together and all campaign for change that applies for all of NSW I think.
Keep up the excellent coverage,
Chris Williams