Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on February 22.
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On February 20, Proactive Investors Australia (and other industry journals) reported that drilling had started on a coal seam gas (CSG) well in the Illawarra Coal Measures in the Burragorang region.
The well — Apex Burragorang DDH1 — is in the Warragamba catchment. It is being drilled under an agreement between Apex Energy and Ormil Energy.
Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said: "We are horrified to hear that drilling has started. This is step one of a project that risks the drinking water of people supplied by Warragamba Dam.
"There is now more than enough evidence that CSG mining brings risks. The contamination of water and soil in New South Wales and Queensland show the need for an immediate moratorium on all CSG projects and a royal commission into the full impacts of the industry.
“Seventy four percent of people in NSW support a moratorium on CSG mining until more is known about the health and environmental impacts.
“It is an outrage that water resources are at risk and the government is not stopping it; is not listening to the people of NSW.”
The previous NSW government approved the new well under the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 454, which Apex controls and in which Ormil has a 50% interest. These are the same two companies with an agreement to work PEL 442 and PEL 444 in the Illawarra.
Moore said: “The Illawarra community has — so far — halted the plan to develop a gas field here. But we are concerned that Apex and Ormil have shifted their focus west; to another community, another part of the catchment, and a project they feel will be subject to less public scrutiny.
“The Stop CSG meeting on February 19 voted unanimously to assist action taken by Oakdale residents to stop the drilling.