Opinion

A dirty fracking business

Last week Mayor Jenny Dowell floated the idea of holding a poll question in conjunction with the September council elections, basically asking if people supported the idea of having a CSG-free community.

What weight it would have, I don't know, but it would allow us to get some extensive and clear data that could be provided to the mining companies, government departments and policy makers when production licences are being sought.

It seems this community is broadly united in its opposition to the CSG industry. From this chair I see the passion of the letter writers and the protesters and I have observed how traditional political foes (namely farmers and the Greens) have formed an alliance around this issue. What I don't see is anyone championing the cause, other than employees of Metgasco.

Arrow Energy, which has exploration rights over most of the region, has been laying low recently while they wait and see where the political dust settles.

As Thomas George has quite rightly pointed out, since Barry O'Farrell came to office, his government has not issued any new coal seam gas licences in NSW. This is for political rather than policy reasons. There is a moratorium on fracking until April and I thought a moratorium on new production licences until the Upper House Standing Committee releases its report in May and the government framed a response. But no, this week I learned there is nothing stopping the government issuing new licences other than political will.

Jenny Dowell called the emerging CSG industry "the biggest threat to our environment" she had seen in the 21 years she has been living in the region.

So let's bring on the poll! Until there is a guarantee there will be no fracking, no aquifer interference, no intrusion onto people's land against their will and that the all gas produced here is used for regional electricity rather than being shipped overseas, I will be voting 'Yes' to a CSG-free community.


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