A protester has used a bicycle lock to attach himself to a bulldozer adjacent to a Metgasco CSG facility in Casino this morning.The bulldozer, being used by Metgasco to build a new coal-seam gas wastewater holding pond, is parked outside the facility and some 50 people from the region have gathered adjacent to the site to support the protester.
Lismore resident Davey Bob Ramsay, whose family has lived in the northern rivers region for four generations, locked himself to the machine at dawn this morning to highlight the threats posed by CSG wastewater to land and water in the Richmond Valley.
Lock the Gate Alliance Northern Rivers spokesperson Boudicca Cerese said this morning, ‘We’re here because the NSW government promised to ban evaporation ponds 12 months ago but today Metgasco are building an open wastewater pond on the edge of the Casino floodplain.
‘It seems that Metgasco has been allowed to build these ponds because they have called them “temporary holding ponds” rather than “evaporation ponds”.
‘That is a misnomer in more ways than one – the pond is approved to operate for five years and it functions like an evaporation pond and has exactly the same risks, including pond overflow, liner failure, and seepage into alluvial aquifers.
‘This pond is located in the catchment of Shannon Brook Creek which runs into sensitive wetland areas.
‘Wastewater management of coal-seam gas in the Casino area is a shambles and the NSW government has done nothing to fix it.
‘This action today exposes the promises, by the NSW government, as a sham designed to hoodwink the public into thinking they were putting tougher constraints on coal-seam gas wastewater management.
‘We don’t take this action lightly but we can’t stand by while our governments fail us and we see our floodplains, wetlands and farmlands threatened. Casino is the beef capital of Australia and we don’t want that put at risk by coal-seam gas.
‘We are calling on the O’Farrell government to impose a proper ban on open CSG wastewater ponds and to prevent any further construction of this pond,’ she said.