Residents from the Putty Valley, 150 kilometres northwest of Sydney, are outraged at the news that coal seam gas drilling will begin in their rural community on August 15.
An August 10 statement on the Putty Gasbag website said residents heard about the drilling start date only after a local resident called mining company Dart Energy about a different matter.
But at a community meeting on the coal seam gas industry in Leichhardt on August 1, Dart Energy CEO Robbert de Weijer said his company was transparent and committed to community consultation.
Kathy McKenzie, chairperson of the Putty Community Association CSG Subcommittee, said: “The only community consultation Dart Energy has had with the people of Putty is at our instigation.
“I write a community newsletter and they have my contact details, but I was only informed about drilling starting on Monday when I called [Dart Energy’s] Jason Needham this morning on another matter. When asked if the neighbouring landholders had been informed I was told that someone was at Putty today informing them.”
Putty Valley locals will hold a protest against the coal seam gas drilling on August 14.
The company will drill an “exploration core hole” 500 metres from the world heritage-listed Wollemi National Park.
McKenzie said: “If commercially viable quantities of gas are identified during exploration, there will be pressure to turn the entire area into industrial production facilities to the detriment of the Hawkesbury River catchment area and the national parks.
“The extraction of coal seam gas and the consequent release of contaminated water and other toxic by-products near a national park risks contamination of that ecosystem.
“Additionally, there is, to date, no way of assuring that any extraction is limited to the areas outside the protection of the park.
“Arguably any company undertaking any level of extraction near a national park risks adversely impacting upon the protected areas above and below the ground."
[For more details visit www.puttygasbag.blogspot.com ]