Monday, 25 July 2011

The following is a letter sent to the Premier from Keith Muir, Director, Colong Foundation for Wilderness. Please send letters to the Premier and your local member if you object to coal seam gas extraction at Putty.

The Hon Barry O’Farrell MP
Premier of NSW
Level 40, Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place

Dear Premier O’Farrell,

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness objects to the exploration for coal seam gas in a headwater tributary of Wollemi Creek at PEL 460, just off the
Putty Road
, 10 kilometres south Putty.  We believe that the Putty Valley should not be developed for CSG and request that no further exploration rights and gas resource development rights be considered or issued due to the risks posed by such development on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Dart Energy, the proponent, acknowledges that the proposed CSG bore is surrounded by Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, that Wollemi National Park contains the largest wilderness area in New South Wales and is downstream of the bore.  The bore is some 400 metres from Wollemi National Park and 1200 metres from Yengo National Park.  The location is probably the least ideal place to explore for coal seam gas imaginable.

The necessary groundwater pumping required to examine the potential coal seam gas yield from this bore necessitates significant drawdown of water within the coal seam, should that seam be an aquifer. 

The Colong Foundation finds there is NO provision for storage of any produced water from the CSG bore.  The entire groundwater assessment for this bore is below:
3.3.2 Groundwater
The groundwater in the region of the proposed core hole sites are within the Wollemi Creek Catchment of the Northern Valleys area of the Hawkesbury - Nepean Water Management Area. There is one agricultural bore on site for extracting groundwater that has been identified down slope from Putty-Option A1.

This is a woeful non-assessment of the groundwater issue and illustrates why your Government’s Land Use Strategy is so sorely needed.  Produced water from the bore could be eco-toxic and also there could be substantial amounts of water produced during the gas yield assessment. 

As the applicant has made no accommodation for produced water from the bore nor considered this likelihood in its environmental assessment, the produced water (should there be any) will end up in the creek and then flow into the core of the World Heritage Area.  

The conditions for PEL 460 do attempt to tackle groundwater issues through water licensing and a groundwater management strategy, but without environmental assessment of this KEY issue, such regulation is a band-aid measure.  I have seen the mining industry dissemble over groundwater impacts to the Gardens of Stone for over twenty years.  I believe that the chances of identifying serious environmental impacts to the World Heritage Area before development of the Putty Valley if proven as a gas field are very slight. 

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness requests that there be no further consents issued regarding coal seam gas in the Putty Valley due to the environmental sensitivity of this area being upstream of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and the core area of the largest wilderness in NSW.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Muir
Colong Foundation for Wilderness

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