Thursday 10 April 2014

New CSG exploration licence near Running Stream

As if Centennial's 'Inglenook' coal exploration licence wasn't enough, there is now a new petroleum exploration licence application over the Blue Mountains and Lithgow and extending as far west as Running Stream. PEL Application 158 has been lodged by CEEMAC Pty Ltd, headed by a Chris McPherson. You can see a map of the area covered by PEL 158 here.

Unfortunately, the date for making submissions to the state government on this project was 13 March, but you can still sign an on-line petition protesting the PEL application to be sent to Premier Barry O'Farrell, NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts and NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker by the local organisation Stop GSC Blue Mountains. They're aiming for 12 000 signatures and to-date are only 50 or so signatures short of their target. You can find the petition here.

If you want to read up a bit on CSG and what CSG mining in our area might mean, Stop CSG Blue Mountains has links to two interesting articles:
NSW Farmers is holding a public workshop on CSG for landholders on Tuesday 6th May, where you can find more information about CSG and its impact on farming communities.

Blue Mountains Council made a strongly worded submission on PEL 158 and Lithgow City Council's submission can be read here. Stop CSG Blue Mountains also made a very detailed and informative submission.

Mid-Western Regional Council general manager, Warwick Bennett, says council was notified two days before the deadline to respond. He said: 'The consultation with these exploration licences is absolutely minimal and with the amount of controversy there is in New South Wales and Australia as a whole we believe there needs to be more consultation for these Coal Seam Gas licences'. Read more about the MWRC response here.
Ceemac has applied for three separate petroleum exploration licences covering an area of 127,000 square kilometres including Dubbo, Narromine, Coolah, Bilpin, Cullen Bullen, Wallerawang and Portland. Dubbo's Daily Liberal newspaper has a brief report on the applications, including a map of the two exploration areas near Dubbo. The newspaper also reports that The Greens' Jeremy Buckingham has called on the state government to freeze the application process for the three licences.

For the moment, the licence has been frozen as part of a six-month suspension on new coal seam gas exploration licences by the state government but it remains to be seen what happens after that time.

The Wellington Times reports that Mr Buckingham said: 'The Greens are astonished that the government would continue to grant new coal seam gas licences given the huge amount of community concern over the industry's risk to land and water... Many other regions across NSW have been in open rebellion against the intrusion of the coal seam gas industry and to protect the land, water and communities... If these licences are granted then it is clear the National Party is putting the gas industry's interests ahead of farmers and regional communities.'

A little internet research on CEEMAC and Mr McPherson has yielded very little information, leading one to wonder whether this company might be one of the $2 shelf companies NSW Minister for Resources Anthony Roberts recently railed against. Mr Roberts said 'There is no space under myself or this government, for cowboy operators any more.' Let's hope he means what he says!

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