Gas company under pressure at Leichhardt public meeting

Around 250 people turned out to a public meeting on coal seam gas in Sydney at Leichhardt Town Hall last night.  The meeting was hosted and MC’d by the Member for Balmain, Jamie Parker.


Listen to the ABC Radio report.  Read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Or read this account  in New Matilda.

Robbert de Weijer Chief Executive of Dart Energy, the gas company that holds a exploration licence over the most of the Sydney, tried to allay the crowd’s concerns about coal seam gas, but seemed only to increase those fears.

Industry spokesperson, Ross Dunn from APPEA, admitted that coal seam gas extraction affects adjoining aquifers during the question and answer session.

Dr Helen Redmond from Doctors for the Environment told the crowd that BTEX chemicals, including benzene were naturally occurring in coal seams and exposure, even to a small amount can have harmful effects.

Drew Hutton, President of the Lock the Gate Alliance spoke about the experience in Queensland and the need to stop the gas companies in their tracks before they gained a foothold.

Greens Mayor of Balmain, Rochelle Porteous said the Council had passed a resolution opposing the development of coal seam gas in the entire local government area, saying: “You’d think it’s a no brainer. You don’t mine methane gas in densely populated urban areas.”

Jeremy Buckingham, the Greens Mining Spokesperson warned the crowd to be wary when the gas companies say they only want to do a small operation.  “That’s what they always say. They say “currently”. We “currently” have no plans. “At this stage we have no plans”. And that’s how it grows,” he said.

The audience was asked whether they wanted the gas company to go away and withdraw their plans?  They voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

Watch a slideshow of photos from the forum:

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