Council on the fence

CLARENCE Valley Council is taking a “wait and see approach” to joining the chorus of Northern Rivers councils calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining.

Mayor Richie Williamson said coal seam gas mining was primarily a State Government issue.

“The state policies would come into consideration if and when there was an application for coal seam gas mining in the Clarence council local government area,” he said.

“I am aware that other councils are calling on the State Government for a moratorium, but it really is a State Government decision.

“The council hasn’t considered joining those other councils in calling for a moratorium as yet.”

Cr Williamson said the idea of fracking was a new issue for council.

“Should there be any application, the council and the community would be asking for some very, very strong scientific evidence that needs to be documented to suggest what may occur has absolutely no impact on the environment,” he said.

He said the issue of joining the chorus for a moratorium might be discussed soon by council.

“We are taking a wait-and-see approach and watching the developments around the state legislation very, very closely,” he said.

“We will make inputs into that process should we need to.”

As the industry expands in the region, Ballina, Lismore, Kyogle and Tweed councils have already passed moratoriums on coal seam gas mining, as has Rous Water.

At last night’s Byron Shire Council meeting, Cr Basil Cameron proposed a moratorium on the controversial issue.

Currently, the neighbouring Richmond Valley Council has left the door open in the area around Casino for the two companies exploring in the Northern Rivers, Metgasco and Arrow, to conduct drilling.

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