Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Why will no one answer my questions?

After numerous letters and telephone calls to NSW government departments and agencies I have been unable to get answers to the following questions, which are very important to our community.

Dart Energy has a Review of Environmental Factors being assessed by the Department of Industry & Investment for coal seam gas exploration in the Putty Valley, a small area of freehold land surrounded by the World Heritage Yengo and Wollombi National Parks. At a meeting about gas mining at St Peters in Sydney on Monday Dart are reported to have said that they plan to start exploration at Putty later this year.

Will any Review of Environmental Factors (REFs) for exploration for coal seam gas be approved during the NSW Government’s 60 Day Moratorium?

Editor’s Note: REFs are written by consultants paid by the mining companies and are lodged with the Department of Industry and Investment for approval for exploration.

Will the REFs that are in the department being assessed for exploration be exhibited for public comment before being approved – ‘as in the new benchmark in transparency’.

Editor’s Note: Previously, REFs only became public after approval was given. Communities were not consulted, access agreements with landholders were signed with confidentiality clauses and it is only when approval was given that the location of test wells was known and inaccuracies in the reports could be seen by the community.

Will the REFs that are in the department being assessed for exploration be approved before a Strategic Land Use Plan is in place for a region?

How will the area of a Strategic Land Use Plan be defined – by local government area, electorate, catchment or other means?

How will community consultation be conducted ‘to ensure local and regional issues are clearly identified’ in Strategic Land Use Plans?

Will the research from Singleton Council’s ‘Our Place a blueprint for 2022’ be used for the Strategic Land Use Plans?

Where does the production water from AGL’s gas wells in Camden go?

I am awaiting confirmation on details on landholders rights so in the meantime check out the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 No 84

NSW Government Strategic Regional Land Use: A new approach to planning for resources and our regions.

4/6/11 – Sydney Morning Herald - Dart Energy plans to extract gas from St Peters in Sydney.

3/6/11 New Matilda - A NSW moratorium on new mining licences has cast uncertainty over Dart Energy's plans to drill for coal seam gas in inner-city Sydney, Gunnedah, Catherine Hill Bay and at Putty.

1/6/11 – The Independent UK - The controversial new drilling operation for natural shale gas in Lancashire has been suspended following a second earthquake in the area that may have been triggered by the process. The earthquake last Friday near Blackpool occurred at the same time that the energy company Cuadrilla Resources was injecting fluids under high pressure deep underground to deliberately blast apart the gas-bearing rock – a process known as "fracking", brought to Britain from the US, where it has been highly contentious.

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