96.6% of NSW still open for fracking

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 January 2014

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on the O’Farrell government to increase the land area protected from coal seam gas after only 3.37% of NSW was protected from fracking in its ‘finalised’ CSG reforms saying that many productive agricultural areas and water resources, as well as key tourist and environmental areas are still under threat.

Dish Texas gas wells from above

“Only 3.37% of NSW’s land area is protected from fracking for coal seam gas, and only 0.4% of land is classified as a critical industry cluster.  96.6% of NSW, including most agricultural, environmental and tourism areas can still be turned into a gas field,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It’s a bad sign for the community that new resources minister Anthony Roberts has taken up the rabidly pro-CSG stance of former minister Chris Hartcher.

“The government has failed to apply the cluster regulation equitably or strategically, with only two agricultural industries gaining protection.

“Why is it that viticulture and equine industries have been granted protection from coal seam gas as critical industry clusters, but other valuable industries such as horticulture, rice and other cropping, irrigation areas, dairy, oysters, and tourism have no protection?

“For example, the Greens believe that in the case of irrigation districts the infrastructure, improvements to land and associated services should be protected from disruption by gas development.

“The Greens will move in parliament to expand the definition of critical industry clusters to ensure other important agricultural industries are protected from the threat of coal seam gas.

“The industrialisation of productive agricultural land is not in the long-term interests of NSW.  Food and fibre production are increasingly important industries worldwide and NSW should be promoting renewable energy not a new era of polluting fossil fuels.

“Andrew Stoner is disingenuous when he states that NSW has the strictest regulations on coal seam gas as Victoria has a total ban on fracking until 2015.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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