Northern Rivers Guardians CSG campaign coordinator Michael McNamara is packing his caravan for a trip to Queensland after police moved in and arrested nine people at an anti-coal-seam-gas blockade on a property at Kerry Valley near Beaudesert yesterday.
Those arrested were part of a group of 45 local landowners and eco-tourism proprietors protesting the sinking of test gas wells by Arrow Energy in the ecologically sensitive area.
Mr McNamara told Echonetdaily, ‘My understanding is that there was some level of agreement between them and Arrow that there would be some further consultation but Arrow returned with a police escort’.
‘The best way for us in the Northern Rivers to defend ourselves against CSG is to stand strongly with other communities who are under threat,’ he said.
‘We anticipate more people will be travelling up from here over the weekend,’ he added.
Just two days ago the newspaper Green Left was reporting the landowners were claiming victory after a drill rig was withdrawn from the region.
They quoted Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic spokesperson Innes Larkin as saying the talk of a community blockade was enough to make Arrow Energy consider the implications of its drill being trapped onsite for an extended period.
But it appears Arrow was only making a strategic retreat, returning yesterday with police cover.
Mr Larkin said the protesters were calling for baseline water tests to be conducted on local aquifers before drilling is allowed to commence.
‘Landowners are really, really concerned about their water and concerned that they’re not being listened to,’ he told AAP yesterday.
‘All of the people arrested, and I’m one of them, have never been arrested before.’
They are due to face court on February 1.