The coal seam gas industry’s own admission that extraction will ‘inevitably’ affect aquifers warrants
urgent action from the NSW government to ensure the protection of the state’s drinking water supplies,
rivers and aquifers, according to the state’s peak environment group.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW calls for an immediate moratorium on coal seam gas
extraction in NSW until a comprehensive environmental strategy can be developed with input from the
community, farmers and the best, independent science.
“Uncontrolled and irresponsible growth in coal seam gas exploration and extraction across our state
risks bleeding our communities and natural environments dry,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW
CEO Pepe Clarke said today.
“The industry itself has now conceded it cannot guarantee coal seam gas extraction will not damage or
destroy our aquifer supplies, an essential source of drinking water, water storage and an irrigation
source for agriculture.
“Coal seam gas mining should not be allowed to go ahead until environment, water supply and other
risks are appropriately assessed and regulated.
“For example, Eastern Star Gas is looking to develop the first large‐scale coal seam gas production
project in NSW in an important recharge area for one of the biggest artesian groundwater basins in the
world, our own Great Artesian. The exploration licence for close to 800,000ha, including the Pilliga
forest and farmland to the north of Narrabri, expired yesterday and should under no circumstance be
“There is 12.7 million hectares of petroleum exploration licences located within the Murray‐Darling
Basin, a river system under such environmental stress already that if event a small fraction of these
went into full‐scale production then the impact would be dire.
“Nowhere in our state should destructive mining and coal extraction processes be approved at the
expense of water security, food security, endangered species or the climate.
“We need a strategic land use strategy for our state that puts the needs of people and the environment
first and makes our high conservation value land, drinking water supplies and prime farm land
permanently off limits to mining," he said.
Photo: Can't eat coal, Can't drink gas rally by Holly Creenaune