Energy Minister Promises Public Input into Future of CSG

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The state’s Energy Minister says there is little chance of coal seam gas operations being approved in regions that are vehemently opposed to the industry.

Anthony Roberts said social, environmental and economic factors will be weighed up when deciding in which areas of the state the industry can operate.

He said affected communities will have a huge input into the decision.

“If a community turns around and says we are violently and vehemently opposed to a gas industry in this area, well of course what that would mean is that there would be very little opportunity or chance for that to progress,” Mr Roberts said. “What would be the point?”

“Community consultation will be conducted up front. So a proposed title area will go out for public consultation, that will come back to government, where again the triple bottom-line standards will be applied; the social, environment and economic factors.”

“So this gives communities a huge input in whether or not they have a potential CSG operation in their area.”

But Elly Bird, from Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, said she was disappointed by the policy.

“We’ve been calling for a long time now for cancellation of licences across the Northern Rivers,” she said. “It’s really clear, the sentiment of the community. “The industrial nature of this industry just does not fit with our community.

“While there’s been some concession through cancellation of some applications, there’s been no actual cancellation of any exploration licences. Our community is not going to stand for the roll out of the industry in the Northern Rivers. We’ve shown that at Bentley, we’ve shown it at Glenugie.”

“It’s unfortunate but if we need to engage in civil disobedience to the time when we get what we’re calling for, then that’s probably the way that the community is going to continue to respond.”

Source: ABC News

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