Coal-seam gas company Metgasco was fined twice during the month of May over two of its petroleum exploration licences.
The fines are revealed, along with the reasons, on the Department of Environment Resources and Energy website on a page headed Division of Resources & Energy’s register of non-compliance for 2012.
The fines were not directly related to the company’s recent admission that it dumped potentially polluted ‘produced’ water from its Casino CSG wells into the town’s sewage treatment plant, which was overseen by the EPA.
The EPA chastised Richmond Valley Council over that incident but it has no authority over mining companies in NSW, including CSG companies.
The department said the reason for the fines was that Metgasco failed to adequately respond to a notice requiring it to ‘submit a water management plan, including details of all water holding ponds and water movements’.
But the notice was issued on 27 April, at least a month after Lock the Gate Northern Rivers first raised the matter.
Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson has made light of the penalties, telling local media he didn’t think they were warranted.
‘An official issued a penalty notice on the basis that in his opinion not all questions had been answered in the manner he had expected,’ Mr Henderson told APN this morning.
Echonetdaily understands the fines related to the notices total just $5,000.