NSW coal and gas exploration audit results a farce
Media Release – Jeremy Buckingham MLC
10 April 2012
Greens MP and NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has labeled the long awaited O’Farrell Government’s coal and gas exploration license audit a ‘farce’ noting that it failed to even identify major environmental issues that have been publically reported.
The Audit Template asks the auditor to: “Select 3 sites of current operation and advise if there is any activity likely to aggravate air or water pollution, soil contamination or erosion (and to) provide documentary evidence and photos”.
Mr Buckingham said, “Well it is clear that the auditors failed to select sites that they already knew had problems. If already acknowledged incidents are not identified in an audit, what faith can the community have of the Government’s integrity in regulating this industry?
Earlier this year Santos released a report into its Pilliga Forest operations, formally owned by Eastern Star Gas, that “identified an unacceptable culture in Eastern Star of accepting minor spills, failures in reporting and the possibility of unapproved land clearing on some sites.”
Mr Buckingham said, “It appears that not one of the 20 environmental and safety incidents self reported by Santos have made it into the Government’s audit report. You would think that even if the Government noted the company’s action to self report and that it would still be included in the official figures.
“The Minister seemed to have waited until just before a long break from parliament to release this farcical report. It is not good enough and shows the Government’s dishonesty about better regulation of coal and coal seam gas exploration.
“There is secrecy and failure of regulation shrouding the coal and gas industries and this audit report only confirms the community’s feelings that the government is putting mining interests ahead of theirs. It is this type of treatment by the Government that is driving the community to blockades,” Mr Buckingham said.
Contact: Max Phillips 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916