Small victory in imperfect democracy

IT'S been a week since Metgasco announced they were making a strategic retreat from the Northern Rivers and many people are wondering if the threat of CSG mining has gone for good, or if other players will try to move in.

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson said they had no intention to sell their exploration rights.

They plan to wait until the regulatory conditions are more favourable, and he believes public sentiment will eventually be more accepting of the industry.

The other company with massive exploration rights here is Dart Energy, which recently bought PEL 445 from Arrow Energy, which covers 7100sq km and takes in Lismore, Byron Bay, Kyogle and Woodenbong.


The Echo contacted them last week for a statement about their intentions and got the usual "say nothing" reply.


But having seen the massive community opposition in action here and having fought battles against unwilling communities in other parts of NSW and Europe, I can't imagine Dart will be in any hurry to rush in.

So my prediction is that things will be relatively quiet for the next year or two.

Which feels like a victory.

The people of the Northern Rivers spoke loudly, and the message seems to have reached the halls of Macquarie St and Canberra.

The various pieces of legislation may not be everything farmers and environmental groups have been asking for, but in our imperfect democracy where compromise is the main currency, it feels like a victory.

So to everyone who marched and wrote and stuck the yellow triangles on their front gate, you have been part of a small victory for common sense.

The end of the fossil fuel age is fast approaching and it won't be the end of the struggle to put health and environment before profit, but a fundraising gig on Saturday night (the Big Rig Gig, see page 11) is now an opportunity for everyone who participated to celebrate that victory.

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