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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Controversial gas pipeline approval lapses

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Just weeks after its court win against the state government over the suspension of its Bentley gas licence, approval has lapsed for Metgasco’s proposal to build high-pressure gas pipeline to join up with Queensland’s CSG operations.

The building of the so-called Lions Way pipeline would have involved clearing a 30-metre wide corridor through agricultural land, farm operations, residential areas and the World Heritage Border Ranges National Park.

‘Metgasco had planned to push this pipeline along one of the steepest and windiest roads in the region through the Border Ranges NP, the Lions Road,’ said Gasfield Free Northern Rivers coordinator Dean Draper.

‘We believe that the pipeline project would not be possible without causing serious environmental damage and it would impact on the ability of landowners along the route to work their farms near the project,’ Mr Draper said.

He added that Metgasco’s environmental record had been ‘woeful’, citing ‘fireballs above the Kingfisher well near a residential area in Casino’,  overflowing wastewater ponds and illegally dumped produced water in the Casino sewage treatment plant.

‘If they can’t even properly conduct their exploration activities, then how can they be trusted to drive a major gas pipeline through a World Heritage area?,’ Mr Draper asked.

‘This is a blow to Metgasco who were still talking it up at their last AGM, and is yet another hit to their plans to turn the region into a giant industrial gasfield,’ he added.

‘North from the Border Ranges, residents are also concerned about the impact of the pipeline on creek flats and pristine watercourses in the region.  Residents there are concerned about clearing adjacent to the creeks. Dairy farmers in the valley rely on this pure water to produce quality milk that is consumed throughout the region and cannot afford to lose food-producing paddocks.

‘Pipelines, gasfields and the impacts on the social and economic makeup of our region cannot be tolerated for such a short term and dangerous industry as is the signature of unconventional gas extraction.

‘We’re glad this project seems to be dead in the water for now but we call upon the government to block any further application for such a destructive venture in the future.  The best thing the government can do would be to introduce legislation to ban unconventional gas activities which would finally and permanently protect our region.’ Mr Draper said.

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