Local council representatives at the coal seam parliament inquiry at The House with No steps at Alstonville.
Local council representatives at the coal seam parliament inquiry at The House with No steps at Alstonville.

Norco speaks out against CSG

NORCO spoke out against the burgeoning coal seam gas industry at a NSW Government inquiry into the industry in Alstonville yesterday.

Chairman of the $350 million-a-year dairy co-operative Greg McNamara told the General Purpose Standing Committee the co-operative's 165 dairy farming members were opposed to the industry.

"They are very, very concerned. It's causing an enormous amount of pressure," Mr McNamara said.

"Farmers should have the right to refuse drilling on their own land." Mr McNamara said farmer's concerns centred on possible contamination of water.

"Water is everything," he said.

"Fraccing should be banned until it's proven safe."

Mr McNamara said he couldn't imagine a scenario in which dairy farming and coal seam gas mining could co-exist.

His sentiments were met with applause from the sometimes unruly crowd of about 200 who gathered to hear the evidence.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell's unequivocal rejection of the industry was meet by cheers and applause, when she gave evidence earlier in the proceedings.

Cr Dowell said council held concerns about the management of "produced" saline water and the contamination of water from chemicals used in fraccing and naturally-occurring chemicals released during the drilling process.

The council was also concerned about methane leakage from poorly-sealed wells and the industry's impact on agriculture and tourism.

The industry, which centred on the extraction of a finite resource, stood in stark contrast to the region's desire to use and develop renewable energy resources.

Kyogle councillor Janet Wilson said her council had supported a moratorium on the industry until research on its impact was done.

Tweed councillor Joan Van Lieshout said Tweed was concerned it had no jurisdiction over the industry.

Ballina mayor Phil Silver said while his council had also supported the moratorium on the industry, if it could be proved to be safe the council may support the industry.

Richmond Valley Council director of corporate services Wayne Halcrow said the council supported the industry, but wanted appropriate regulation.



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