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Byron Shire
July 5, 2022

Vets and MAs not CSG experts

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Last Wednesday I attended the CSG meeting with the state minister for planning, Brad Hazzard, and four bureaucrats in Lismore. One, a woman, was in charge of protecting our soil. She had previously been a vet. The man in charge of water safety had an MA. The hall was packed to the rafters and overflowing out the back.

I’m not sure how Brad Hazzard planned to run the meeting but after a chanting of ‘Let Them Speak’ we began to hear from members of the audience. Among our audience were more scientists and experts than the entire NSW bureaucracy contains. Every question was clear, informed and destroyed the last vestige of Hazzard’s credibility. One woman who had just returned from a UN conference and a meeting in Europe with scientists from 100 nations stated that the scientists all agreed that based on the studies that have been done there is no way of knowing the long-term impacts of CSG mining.

So, for the vets and people with an MA in the NSW government to decide that CSG is safe is a bad joke. In Texas earthquakes are now occurring in places where CSG mining has occurred where earthquakes have never occurred before.

Another woman, with a PhD (and I only mention these credentials because Brad Hazzard was trying to pull the ‘we’re the experts and you are ignorant so let us decide what’s best for you’ trip) spoke of the deadly components of uranium – arsenic, strontium 90 and others –that will be released into the air by CSG mining. This scientist said the air poisoning would be the most serious health effect.

Already the people around Tara are experiencing serious health effects and the NSW government has not even looked at air contamination from CSG mining. Brad Hazzard had not even bothered to bring anyone from the Health Department. When asked how many CSG wells exist in NSW they said 750. When asked how many test wells to check the water quality had been drilled they did not know. The audience erupted in fury.

Some people continued to voice their frustration when he spoke and he inferred that we were an uncivilised rabble – a soft-spoken woman said she was sorry for the interruptions but people were so angry at the threat to their air, soil, water, communities, and their very survival that it was very difficult for them to restrain themselves.

As one man said, ‘We are educated, we are informed, we have read the research and seen what is happening at Tara in Queensland –you can’t put anything over on us’. Another man said, ‘You got elected because you said you would have a moratorium on CSG and you will be thrown out if you don’t stop CSG mining’.

An older woman described the severe flooding that occurred in (I think) 1956. This will happen again especially with climate change and all the CSG dams (millions of gallons of dangerously toxic sludge that is left behind after the CSG miners have moved on) would burst their banks and destroy all the river systems and adjoining land.

And why is our state government so hell-bent on promoting and supporting CSG mining? – since the gas will all be exported to China and India. Two companies involved are Shell Oil and Petro China and they pay very little tax to our government.

There should be an investigation into connections between the NSW state government and bureaucrats and these companies.

We must unite behind CSG Free Byron Shire. They can be contacted at [email protected] Once they have destroyed our air, water, soil and communities it is too late. Now is the time for action. They can be stopped. They will be stopped. We are the ones who will do it.

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