Stop CSG Illawarra is preparing for another mass, community action on October 21. They plan to form a human sign at Bulli Showground that says “Protect H2O, Stop CSG”. The sign is part of Lock The Gate's national week of action.
In May last year, Stop CSG Illawarra organised a 3000 strong human sign on Austinmer Beach that said “Stop Coal Seam Gas”. In October, the group organised another 3000 strong action, this time marching across the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge in Coalcliff. The powerful community campaign helped delay coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in the Illawarra such that the local development approval for drilling lapsed.
However, steps are now being taken to reinstate the project. Apex Energy has applied to the government to extend drilling deadlines in the Illawarra. The NSW government has offered to renew four Illawarra CSG exploration licences, along with 18 other licences across the state.
Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said: “All exploration licences in the Illawarra have been renewed, including one in the drinking water catchment. [Barry] O'Farrell promised to ban exploration and mining in the drinking water catchment. This was — quite clearly — a lie.
”Dressed up in words like 'protection' these changes are nothing short of betrayal. They put land, water and communities at risk [and make] it clear that the government thinks CSG profits are more important than safe drinking water.
“We need a science-first approach to CSG, that puts facts before development. Catchments should be protected and fracking should be ruled out.”
Stop CSG Sydney will also organise a human sign protest on October 13, in Sydney Park, St Peters. The Sydney protest will spell out “Stop Coal Seam Gas”. Earlier this year Dart Energy said it would no longer pursue plans to drill for CSG in St Peters, but campaigners want the NSW government to cancel Dart’s licence to ensure it cannot go ahead in the future.
Energy company AGL has also begun drilling for CSG in Sydney’s southwest, near the Nepean River.
[To register for the Illawarra human sign protest visit stop-csg-illawarra.org. To register for the Sydney event, visit nogasmininginsydney.com.]