AGL must withdraw CSG expansion in city – O’Farrell should legislate to protect suburbs, water and farms

MEDIA RELEASE  –  8 February 2012 

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on AGL to withdraw its planned expansion of its coal seam gas fields into the suburbs of Western Sydney, after the company announced it had requested a temporary suspension of its Northern Expansion proposal.  The Greens want the exploration licence to be cancelled and called on the O’Farrell Government should legislate to permanently protect urban areas from coal seam gas.Menangle Park drillng

“The Greens are concerned this is a cynical PR exercise attempting to take the spotlight off the issue of coal seam gas during the coming federal election campaign.  To show good faith, AGL should withdraw its entire application and hand back its exploration licence for coal seam gas in the suburbs of Sydney,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“AGL have form.  They have previously pulled projects prior to election campaigns, such as the Leaf Gully power station in 2007, only to put them back up after the heat of an election is over.”

“It is certainly a recognition that coal seam gas is a risky industry unsuitable for urban areas and does not have a social licence from the people of NSW.

“The onus is now on Premier Barry O’Farrell to legislate to permanently protect urban areas and drinking water catchments from the risk of coal seam gas.

“If coal seam gas is unwanted and unsafe for the suburbs of Sydney, then why is appropriate in other areas, such as Gloucester, the Hunter Valley or Northern Rivers?

“There are coal seam gas exploration licences for the entire Sydney Metropolitan area – from Bondi to Penrith, as well as exploration licences for the water catchment on the Illawarra Plateau and surrounding Warragamba Dam.  The Greens call on the Government to protect these areas by cancelling these licences.

“Coal seam gas is risky and unnecessary industry.  Australia should be switching to renewable energy such as solar and wind, not plundering suburbs, farmland and aquifers for another era of fossil fuels.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

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