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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Rous Water councillor seeks immediate gas ban

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A Rous Water board member will move a motion calling on the state government to end gas exploration in areas where aquifers could be used for water supply.

The move follows the news over the weekend that Santos received just a $1,500 fine for poisoning an aquifer in its Pilliga exploration area with 20 times the allowable quantity of uranium together with heightened quantities of lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron and nickel.

Last month Rous released its Future Water Strategy, which revealed the authority will be highly reliant on exploiting ground water for the region’s supplies in the future.

‘The NSW government must immediately ban unconventional gas drilling in areas that could damage or destroy underground water that may be required for the future needs of Rous Water’s customers,’ said councillor Simon Clough, one of Lismore Council’s representatives on the authority’s board.

‘Rous Water has spent many years and considerable resources in developing its Future Water Strategy. This strategy includes as one of its highest priorities undertaking detailed investigation to assess the suitability of increased use of groundwater as a new water source,’ said Cr Clough.

Rous Water already taps aquifers to supply some of its 100,000 customers and is looking to dramatically increase its use of groundwater to ensure water supplies into the future.

‘It is critical that the community’s groundwater resources are protected for its future generations. It is absolutely unacceptable that this community resource could be damaged or destroyed for private profit before it can be fully investigated for the benefit of the whole community,’ said Cr Clough.

Protest legally: Hogan

Meanwhile a local Nationals MP who will be addressing an anti-gas meeting in Lismore tonight has urged protesters not to break the law.

Page MP Kevin Hogan told local media protesting should be done ‘the right way’.

‘We have to be very careful how [to protest] and we do need to do that legally, otherwise it does the whole thing you’re protesting about a disservice,’ he told ABC local radio.

Last week landowner Peter Graham, whose Bentley property is scheduled for CSG test drilling by Metgasco, told media that barricades built by protesters were causing him access problems.

And Richmond Valley Council warned protesters it would close the road completely if they used cars or their bodies to block access by Metgasco vehicles.

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  1. So good to see that Rous Water is trying to protect our precious future water resources .We must think of future generations and not just our dividends,super funds and bank accounts.Who wants to be the richest dead man in cemetary?

  2. I agree 100% Geoff. But…. we won’t be the beneficiaries of the new-found wealth. Large multi-national companies are the ones who will profit. Their gain, and we take all the risk. What our politicians doing???

  3. How can it be legal to poison a community’s water supply? How can it be illegal for a community to do whatever they have to do to protect their water supply? Water is life!

  4. Why do I think Kevin H is having a “bob each way” on the CSG issue? Protest legally? Most of our activism courses are about the Law. We wish to allow people to say “do not come on my land” and the Government changes the law to force the landowner to capitulate.
    The fact is that the Petrol heads are gearing up for the government to call us “terrorists” and sic the spooks onto us (unless it is already happening?)
    Maybe this evening, Kevin H can tell us how to (effectively) protest “legally”. The powers that be already have been using “close the park because of fire danger”, “destroy the path it is not to Australian Standards” and other such “defeating ploys” This is just other ways to criminalise decent folk who want a future for their children/grand-children. Luckily Gandhi did not listen to that sort of imprecation!
    As the wizard said “expecto petroleum” any way we can.

  5. I agree Geoff Bensley but Rous Water are doing us no favours by dumping fluoride in the water.
    Another toxic chemical in our water supply!

  6. Too right Geoff, great point! Can you believe it? A $1500 fine??? What would you or I get if we dumped a fridge in Rocky Creek Dam? A damned sight more than a $1500 fine I’ll bet! Santos would spend more than that on lunch with their buddies who are meant to represent us.

  7. The McClellar range tight sands formation running east to west through Bentley has multiple springs that feed groundwater into the rock valley creek and bentley creek which feeds into the river upstream from Lismore, any fracking chemicals will definitely surface in these springs, poison the stock that drink from the spring fed dams, and cause total fish kills in the entire river system that eventually feeds the Ballina prawn and fishing industry, the entire region would loose its fishing industries, and farmers loose their stock water.
    And then there is the future supply from Rous water. The coastal communities should be made aware that fracking and csg drilling will also affect them directly through the health impact on rivers systems and coastal ecology. As an ex biologist for the CSIRO this would be criminal to let any industry threaten the ecology of this region or any region.

  8. Well!!! If Kevin Hogan wants the protectors to act legally then maybe he should get out there on the front line and lead the way. He was elected on his strong anti csg platform including his willingness to cross the floor. As a community leader he should lead and be out there showing us how to protest legally.———- I bet he won’t be there but will say he supports the protestors but he will also deplore their action. Just like all Polies . All talk and no real action.

  9. Telling you for the last time, the Metgasco site is a conventional well which will not be fracking. This is a NIMBY concern, nothing else.

  10. Unfortunately, ‘Jimmy D’ (and D stands for….?), the industry have told such fibs in the past that we are judging them on that, rather than their “promises”. Lock the henhouse. Bolt the stable door, No more windows of opportunity! Because ecocide = genocide.


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