The NSW Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, has called in Metgascos development proposal for a gas-fired power station near Casino, meaning Richmond Valley Council is no longer the consent authority.
The gas exploration company has been drilling around Casino for some time, hoping to find significant reserves it can use to generate power to sell onto the electricity grid. Councils director of development and environmental services, Ken Exley, said he believed Metgasco had made the approach to the Minister to take over the consent process and there could be a number of reasons for this, including if a development was worth more than $40 million or if it was considered to be of state significance. Mr Exley said he was unaware of the dollar value attached to the project, although in preliminary consultations with Council, Metgasco was talking about a minimum of $20 million. There is no third party right of appeal if the Minister for planning determines a development application.
Metgasco managing director David Johnson could not be contacted.
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