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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Gas-well resistance planned ahead

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Bentley locals and anti-CSG campaigners don't mince their words. Photo David Lowe
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Luis Feliu

Locals at Bentley west of Lismore were joined by anti coal-seam gas (CSG) campaigners on the weekend at the site of the proposed Metgasco gas-drilling well to map out a plan of resistance.

Around 80 people gathered at the site saying planned protest actions will draw hundreds to the grazing property in around eight weeks when the embattled gas company tries to set up its exploration well for what it says is ‘conventional gas’.

But CSGFree Northern Rivers spokesman Ian Gaillard told Echonetdaily the description is a misnomer as the controversial ‘fracking’ method of extraction was likely to be used if the pilot production well finds gas drilling there viable.

‘They’re looking for tight sands (sandstone) which require stimulation (fracking) and use of acidic chemicals,’ Mr Gaillard said.

‘Instead of preparing an exit strategy from  the northern rivers where there is overwhelming opposition to CSG, Metgasco is seeking to using an exploration well to drill for tight sands.

Mr Gaillard said road works and pad construction for the gas-drilling site were expected to begin soon and drilling works around March-April.

Surveying the lay of the land for public access around the proposed gas-drilling site. Photo David Lowe
Surveying the lay of the land for public access around the proposed gas-drilling site. Photo David Lowe

Bentley locals and anti-CSG campaigners at the weekend assessed roads and public areas around the site for safe use during actions, and discussed strategy for non-violent peaceful protests when the works begin.

The company, which early last year put on hold its operations after massive community protests against its plans for CSG wells around the northern rivers, announced it would explore the Bentley site soon after the coalition won the federal election in September.

The move angered campaigners and communities, many of which had by then had officially declared themselves ‘gasfield free’ after street and road surveys and council resolutions in several shires.

The Metgasco plan and access for the Bentley exploration well was made after the landowner of the grazing property made a deal with the company and gave permission.



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  1. The fundamental problem these people face is that the industry has been allowed to establish itself in Queensland. The anti-CSG battle in Queensland was destroyed by the arrival of The Greens and Drew Hutton. The Anti-CSG movement here was divided by Hutton and The Green’s endorsement of violence and lies, not to mention their sabotage of the first anti-CSG blockade in Australia, indeed in the world. While Hutton and The Greens have shifted the focus to NSW the industry here is going gung ho, there is no effective opposition and to all intents and purposes the battle has been lost. If you want to save Bentley and anywhere else for that matter, the CSG industry in Queensland must be shut down. Nothing else will save you and Lock the Gate Alliance and The Greens won’t save you any more than they didn’t save us. All they have done here is sell us out.
    Graeme Henderson,

  2. I’m furious that Metgasco would dare to consider trying to deceive our community. They know they’re not wanted here. They may have Thomas George’s son on their payroll but they don’t have Kevin Hogan on their side, or anyone else who has the intelligence to understand what they are proposing. Historically this area of Bentley was referred to as Disputed Plains for good reason. Metgasco won’t be the first to go broke here. Check with the historical society, it’s a fascinating story, good enough for a great Australian movie plot.


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