Thursday, 10 November 2011

NSW Opposition calls for suspension of CSG exploration

Opposition Leader John Robertson is calling on the Government to suspend all current Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses to protect the State's precious water resources.

"Coal Seam Gas has the potential to damage our drinking water and compromise food security," said Mr Robertson.

"The Government must immediately suspend all Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses before irreparable damage is caused to ground water and aquifers.

"The NSW Opposition is also calling on the Government to cease issuing Coal Seam Gas extraction licenses and refuse any applications to expand existing operations.

"Until a water-tight regulatory framework is in place based on independent scientific research and conclusive evidence, we should not be allowing Coal Seam Gas mining to proceed unabated.

"It is vital that the Government acts now to protect our precious ground water resources. Once an aquifer is damaged, it can never be repaired."

Mr Robertson said the Opposition is concerned that Governments have rushed into Coal Seam Gas mining, without fully understanding the potential impacts on the environment.

"When new medicines are introduced, they have to go through thorough testing to ensure they are safe for patients to consume," he said.

"No medication is allowed onto the market until it is proven to be safe and the same should apply to new industries like Coal Seam Gas mining.

"Nothing is more important than protecting NSW water supplies and food security.

"Evidence from overseas and interstate indicates that Coal Seam Gas mining operations could have a devastating and permanent impact on ground water resources.

"Until there is a scientific consensus that Coal Seam Gas mining will not damage aquifers and ground water systems – we need to hit the pause button.

"The Coal Seam Gas industry has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the people of NSW – but those benefits must not be delivered at the expense of our age old aquifers and prime agricultural land.

"We need to put the brakes on the Coal Seam Gas industry now – before it's too late."

Mr Robertson said the Opposition's Coal Seam Gas Taskforce will continue to tour the state to hear from communities about the local impacts of CSG exploration and mining, but evidenced based scientific research is vital. 

"It is clear that residents, farmers and community groups are deeply concerned about the impact the emerging Coal Seam Gas industry will have on their lives, their land and their communities," he said.

"That's why independent peer-reviewed scientific research is needed on the impacts of Coal Seam Gas extraction on NSW water resources – before the industry is permitted to expand any further."

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