Members of anti-coal-seam gas group Lock the Gate Alliance (LTGA) have described as ‘outrageous’ the fact that under new state legislation residents living within two kilometres of proposed wind farms will have a right of veto, whereas CSG mines could be built up to just 200 metres from a residence.
Local CSG campaigner and LTGA management committee member, Michael McNamara, told Echonetdaily, ‘restrictions on different activities should relate to the relative risks posed by those activities. On any reckoning the risks associated with coal-seam gas exploration and extraction are far more serious and long lasting than even the worst reports of risks associated with wind farms.’
‘It is outrageous that the 2km veto does not apply to coal-seam gas exploration activities.
‘I call on local state MPs Geoff Provest and Thomas George to pressure the premier to extend this right of veto to proposed coal-seam gas activities within a 2km radius of any residence.’
But local member Don Page has told local media he doesn’t think the two issues are related.
‘Wind farms are created on the surface of a property owned by farmers or landowners. That’s not the case with coal-seam gas which is a resource that is underground and owned by everyone, so they are different sorts of issues really.’
He went on to say that the Liberal-National state government had not approved any CSG licences since it came to power and its moratorium against fracking remains in place until April.
Last month LTGA president Drew Hutton said, ‘noise from a wind turbine might be a problem to some but it sits on a concrete base a few metres square and has no impact whatever on ground water.
‘A coal mine, on the other hand, can be only a few hundred metres from a dwelling, [and] will massively impact on the health and amenity of anyone living within a ten-kilometre radius. It can destroy both ground and surface water and will never be rehabilitated to its former state,’ Mr Hutton said.
‘A coal-seam gas field will also have extremely noisy machinery like compressor stations and reverse osmosis plants, fugitive emissions and can cause contamination and draw-downs of the water table.’
Mr Hutton said it was ‘illogical’ to place such tough restrictions on a renewable energy industry and not extend them to one with such potentially hazards associated with it.