Members of Gasfields Free Northern Rivers are embarking on what they hope will be a final trip to Sydney to watch the outcome of a critical vote of Metgasco shareholders.
The state government’s offer last month to buy back Metgasco’s northern rivers petroleum exploration licences (PEL) for $25 million has been endorsed by the board but still has to be approved by shareholders.
That meeting will take place on Wednesday, with Gasfield Free Northern Rivers co-ordinator Dean Draper describing it as possibly, ‘the final act of a long journey that started more than five years ago’.
But with a significant shareholder, Belongil resident John Vaughan, indicating he will not support the buyback, the group is not counting its chickens just yet.
IPART recommendations ‘weak’
The vote comes in a week when community groups have rejected other government moves on CSG as being ‘too weak’.
The group Groundswell Gloucester has attacked recommendations of the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) regarding compensation offered to farmers for CSG mining on their land.
Spokesperson Julie Lyford described the plan as ‘lip service’.
‘When you look at the map of NSW, over 75 per cent of the local councils have said no to coal seam gas now because the dangers of contamination are too great,’ she told ABC radio.
‘Even the chief scientist talks about many, many risks in her report. This Gas Plan really should be dead and buried,’ Ms Lyford said.
As well as groundwater and soil contamination, the group also raised the issue of rogue methane escaping from CSG wells.