Greens NSW MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has said the fact the government was allowing Metgasco to operate a ‘storage’ pond was a sign they were using semantics to get around their own laws.
Mr Buckingham made the comments after congratulating campaigners on their action yesterday against Metgasco’s plans to build a new coal-seam gas wastewater pond near Casino.
‘The government grandly announced a ban on evaporation ponds last year but has now approved a five-year wastewater storage pond that operates exactly like an evaporation pond. It is completely dishonest,’ Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.
‘The community has been forced to take this action because the government has failed to adequately protect the water resources in the northern rivers.
‘The Coal Seam Gas Inquiry recommended banning all open water storage of wastewater from coal-seam gas production including temporary storage and open storage in tanks. It viewed this as a significant environmental risk and the government should accept that recommendation in full.’
Mr Buckingham asked questions in parliament yesterday about the government’s position on open water storage and why they are continuing to allow coal-seam gas companies to put our water resources at risk.
The dam was approved by Richmond Valley Council, which approves all dams on private land in its region.
Division of Resources has, however, advised Metgasco it will need further approval to use the dam for wastewater storage.
Metgasco was recently caught out disposing of produced water at the Casino sewage treatment plant, which was not permitted under the facility’s environmental licence. Metgasco disposed of more than one million litres between May 2011 and March 2012 before the Richmond Valley Council was told by the Environmental Protection Agency to cease accepting the water.