Lock the Gate Northern Rivers yesterday called on the state government to follow the advice of the Legislative Council Inquiry into coal-seam gas and refuse to grant a Petroleum Production Licence for Metgasco’s planned Casino Gas Project.
The Inquiry report, released last week, recommends that no further production licences be issued until a comprehensive framework for the regulation of the coal-seam gas industry is implemented.
And on Monday planning minister Brad Hazzard confirmed an extension to the public exhibition period for the draft Strategic Regional Land Use policies. Submissions will now be accepted until Monday 14 May 2012.
Lock the Gate Alliance Northern Rivers spokesperson Boudicca Cerese said, ‘we are calling on resources and energy minister Chris Hartcher to refuse to grant the Petroleum Production Licence that Metgasco needs to go ahead with its Casino Gas Project’.
‘The Metgasco licence for a gas field near Casino should be the first to be refused under a new CSG production moratorium.
‘The inquiry report highlights many deficiencies in the current regulatory framework and clearly says no further licences should be issued until these faults are addressed and a comprehensive, effective and transparent regulatory regime is put in place,’ said Ms Cerese.
‘We strongly urge Minister Hartcher to waste no time in implementing a moratorium on production licences, starting with the Metgasco licence.
‘The inquiry also recommends that regional-scale water assessments be finalised as a matter of urgency in regions where exploration is taking place.
‘The Northern Rivers has been earmarked for a federally funded regional-scale water assessment, so it makes absolutely no sense to allow production gas fields to be constructed before the studies even begin,’ said Ms Cerese.
‘We also call on our local National Party MPs to represent the interests of their constituents by supporting a moratorium on new production licences, a recommendation that had the support of committee member Rick Colless, their National Party colleague.’
Submissions regarding the draft strategic land use policy can be lodged at www.nsw.gov.au/haveyoursay.