15.5 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Warning: CSG bad for health

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Free mental health workshop for Byron businesses

Business owners in Byron Shire are invited to attend a free 'Healthy Mindset' workshop aimed at providing them with resources and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as the opportunity to connect with other business owners.

Flickerfest tour returns to the Northern Rivers

Celebrating 30 years in 2021 Flickerfest is bringing its National Tour to The Regent Cinema Murwillumbah for one big film packed this weekend

Doing it right

How do you know you’re doing hummus right? When the international visitors tell you it’s some of the best...

Tweed residents facing rate rise in 2021/2022 financial year

Tweed residents are invited to provide feedback on their council's budget, revenue policy and fees and charges, as Tweed Council prepares to finalise its delivery program and operational plan for the next financial year.

Secret footage from Manus detention centre to be screened in Lismore

A thirteen-minute award-winning documentary based on footage secretly filmed inside Australia’s former detention centre on Manus Island is to be screened in Lismore Thursday night.

‘Endless land releases’ not the solution for Byron’s housing crisis, says Labor mayor hopeful

Northern Rivers-based trade unionist and MBA student Asren Pugh has announced his candidature for Byron Shire Mayor in September’s local government elections on behalf of Country Labor. 

Luis Feliu

The warning by the NSW health department about the serious health risks involved in coal-seam gas (CSG) mining has been seized on by the northern rivers anti-CSG lobby to call for an immediate halt to the industry till the full impacts on safety are known.

It has also been used by national grassroots community lobby group GetUp! to push its campaign to stop local communities becoming gasfields, urging members to sign an online petition to their local MPs against the controversial CSG industry.

The moves come as local CSG miner Metgasco continues its CSG test-drilling program on the north coast at Glenugie, south of Grafton, where a blockade and ongoing protests resulted in around 26 arrests earlier this month.

Another protest camp has sprung up at the company’s test site at Doubtful Creek near Kyogle.

The Sydney Morning Herald this week revealed that NSW Health has warned about the serious health risks involved in CSG mining and exposed the failure of the government to properly assess those risks.

According to the SMH report, NSW Health, through its southwest Sydney branch, says ‘comprehensive assessment would be required to establish the full range of potential health risks’.

These ‘may include risks associated with air pollution, ground and surface water contamination and noise. The information available does not allow a comprehensive assessment of potential risks to human health.’

Lock the Gate Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara said the South West Sydney Local Health District call for a full community health impact study before operations begin ‘is a welcome voice of sanity and reason from within a government that is generally out of touch with community views and concerns about the CSG industry’.

‘Public health authorities in the Tweed should adopt a similar position,’ Mr McNamara told Echonetdaily.

Under threat

‘Residents of the Tweed are already under threat from the exploration licence held by Arrow Energy and the application for a Special Prospecting Authority by the NSW State Aboriginal Land Council.

‘Before any work is allowed to commence there should be a comprehensive, independent study of community health.

‘Reports from the Tara area in central Queensland of severe health impacts are of great concern.

‘Doctors in the Tara area are so concerned about seeing a pattern of “symptoms consistent with gas exposure” that they reported their concerns to the Queensland branch of the AMA.

‘Residents near Tara report children with nosebleeds, bleeding from the ear and severe skin rashes since CSG operations commenced.

‘We do not want these problems in the Tweed.

‘The bleatings of the CSG industry in relation to health impacts is reminiscent of the efforts of tobacco companies in the 50s and 60s.

‘What is needed is comprehensive and independent baseline testing of health as well as water and air quality and environmental health.

‘We can only really know the impacts if we have a clear picture of the state of health of our people, our water, our land and our air before CSG operations commence,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Metgasco has not ruled out using the controversial technique of fracking at its CSG wells on the north coast.

Widely used

But spokesman Richard Shields says, ‘CSG generally doesn’t need fracking’ and claims it’s an established and safe practice, widely used for decades in the oil industry.

(Fracking is a technique where a mix of water, sand and chemicals is pumped under high pressure into the drill well to ‘fracture’ rock deep underground and extract the coal-gas from the rock pores to the production well. CSG opponents say it also allows gases to leak into aquifers and the surface, endangering human health and contaminating water sources.)

Mr Shields said its test-drilling program underway at Glenugie was going ‘full steam ahead’ and approved test drilling would continue at its sites at Doubtful Creek and Whiporie (between Lismore and Casino) soon.

He said the core-sample wells at the three sites were ‘very different’ from ‘conventional wells’, which would not be drilled for six to 12 months.

Meanwhile, GetUp! says the NSW government has replaced the entire board of the Sydney Catchment Authority and appointed the former director of two of Australia’s largest mining companies as chairman, describing it as a major win for the CSG industry.

GetUp! members are being rallied to ‘ask your MP to protect our homes, land and water from CSG’ by visiting: www.getup.org.au/broken-promises.

And the head of clay and concrete manufacturer Brickworks says protests against coal-seam gas appear to have slowed the development of more wells and limited new gas supply.

Managing director, Lindsay Partridge, also says the process to approve new CSG operations is too slow and the federal government needs to intervene.

‘The anti-coal-seam gas lobby has stopped or delayed the timely production of gas, as well as a very complicated process where many of these wells have to go through both state and federal approval process,’ he told ABC News.

The ABC report says some manufacturing leaders have called for a reservation policy, that would see a proportion of Australian gas production set aside for domestic industry, but federal energy minister Martin Ferguson says such an approach is unlikely to work.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. So now we have other “captains of industry” spuiking for CSG. Someone ought make Mr. Partridge aware of the statement by BHP? That there is plenty of CSG to go around from the North West Shelf:

    The North West Shelf Venture is one of the world’s largest LNG
    producers and supplies oil and gas to Australian and international
    markets from huge gas and condensate fields in the Carnarvon
    Basin on Australia’s north-west continental shelf

    a quote from tthe “NORTH WEST SHELF VENTURE” pdf

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.