Conflict over coal seam gas drill rig highlights lack of social licence
MEDIA RELEASE – 7 January 2013
The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham criticised the forceful police intervention, including numerous arrests, to break up a community blockade that had stopped Metgasco drilling for coal seam gas at Glenugie near Grafton, saying the conflict highlighted the gas industry’s failure to gain a social licence for coal seam gas.
“It’s a sad reflection on the coal seam gas industry that police have to arrest local residents and force their way through a community blockade so that they can drill for gas. This industry has clearly failed to gain a social licence to operate in the Northern Rivers,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“The coal seam gas industry is losing the battle for hearts and minds because it has failed to take seriously concerns about how coal seam gas may lead to air and water pollution, increased greenhouse gases, land use impacts, health impacts and decreased property values.
“There is no future for coal seam gas in NSW if each drill rig needs to have a police guard to force its way into communities.
“Barry O’Farrell and his noxiously pro-gas resources Minister Chris Hartcher, and the National Party have all failed to provide a policy framework for coal seam gas that the community expects. The government should rule out gas extraction on productive farmland, sensitive environments and in urban areas.
“An official poll conducted during the September 2012 local government election confirmed that the overwhelming majority of residents in the Northern Rivers do not their region turned into a coal seam gas field.
“The Greens congratulate those people who have bravely taken a stand to protect their local community and environment. They are not only local heroes, but have the support of the broader community in NSW.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916