Protesters are this morning converging on Metgasco’s planned test site at Doubtful Creek after large numbers of police cleared the Glenugie CSG site before dawn in preparation for the removal of the AJ Lucas drilling rig today.
A CSG Free Northern Rivers bulletin said that large numbers of police converged on Metgasco’s Glenugie test-well site at 4 o’clock this morning, closing the road to traffic in preparation for the departure of a convoy heading to Doubtful Creek.
The group says there are currently 150 people there with more arriving this morning.
Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton will be at Doubtful Creek today to join people from across the northern rivers as they protest against Metgasco’s current core-drilling program.
The breaking of the Glenugie blockade follows the arrest of a man and two women yesterday for chaining themselves to a Mad Max-style modified vehicle in front of the gates of the CSG drilling site.
It took police nine hours to remove the vehicle.
Metgasco’s managing director Peter Henderson says exploratory drilling at the Glenugie site had finished but there was still remediation work to be carried out, which should take about a month.
Mr Henderson told ABC North Coast that he hoped there wouldn’t be too much resistance to the remediation works and expected protesters would now be ‘happy to simply leave, but logic doesnt always prevail’.
He said he expected that after a few months time, people would ‘have difficulty in finding’ where the drilling took place.
State govt ‘dragging feet’
Meanwhile, the federal government has accused its NSW counterpart of failing to address community concerns about the exploitation of unconventional gas in the state.
Federal environment minister Tony Burke said yesterday that NSW is dragging its feet over negotiations on assessments for CSG projects, urging premier Barry O’Farrell to ‘urgently reconsider projects that are close to urban and regional communities’.
He told ABC radio this morning, ‘the level of concern about this is fever pitch. We have said we’ll fund the independent scientific work so… it’s not being done by the companies. Other states… have agreed to fully incorporate that information into their processes. NSW hasn’t.’