Local climate group calls on council to oppose Coal Seam Gas extraction

Media Release: 19th August 2014

Bathurst Community Climate Action Network supports the call for a no coal seam gas policy for Bathurst Regional Council.

Councillors should represent the community’s concerns over the extraction of coal seam gas, said Tracey Carpenter, President of BCCAN. Farmers, environmentalists are united in their opposition to further expansion of the toxic and damaging processes used in CSG extraction throughout Australia. We do not support any expansion of the climatically endangering and polluting fossil fuel industry here or anywhere else.

NSW Farmers have also taken a strong stance on mining and gas, adopting a new resources policy to ban extractive industries in areas covered by Water Sharing Plans until nil negative impact can be demonstrated.

“CSG extraction involves a labyrinth of individual wells across the landscape, Ms Carpenter said. “The process called ‘fracking’ means injecting, under high pressure, a toxic mix of chemicals with sand and water to fracture the entire sub strata of rock to release methane, a highly concentrated greenhouse gas. Water within the seam has to be drawn off before the methane is extracted. Essentially, bore holes placed within the coal seam have to be de-watered continuously. The environmental impacts from dewatering are also of great concern, including the quality of water extracted and the disposal of such water. The numerous likely environmental impacts include, but are not limited to:

  • Dewatering of groundwater aquifers

  • Impacts on stream flow and water quality

  • Land subsidence

  • Damage to river ecosystems

  • Leaching of gas during actual methane gas production.

“The contamination and dewatering of aquifers impacts the whole water system effecting not only the surrounding farmland but ecosystems across the environment. Including water for human consumption,” Ms Carpenter said.

“It is important for council to adopt a policy opposing CSG in our region because an application for coal seam gas exploration has been lodged encompassing Bathurst, Lithgow, Oberon, Cowra, out towards Mudgee. The decision on these applications lies with the State Government but Council still has an important role to play in defending the interests of this community, its many rural zone residents; a responsibility to show regional leadership and to protect the local environment.”

“While Council do not have approval powers on applications for CSG exploration and extraction. Council can make submissions on any application over its region lodged with the NSW Government. Council must in fact make submissions on these applications”, Ms Carpenter said.

“Council needs clear policy to take a strong stand to represent the community and defend our land and water resource and environment from the destructive process of fracking now and into the future. “Clarifying a no CSG policy allows Council to lobby State Government for adequate protections against the damaging practices of seam gas extraction which have left such a residual scare on communities where-ever it has been undertaken.

“It is notable that the Association of Mining Related Council’s do not support coal seam gas exploration and / or production within drinking water catchments. A large number of fellow councils have made similar undertakings to protect their communities from CSG. Orange Council recently voted for a policy of no CSG within its LGA. Blue Mountains Council also have established considerable policy protections,” she said.

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