Blockade stops CSG work

Dean Draper (above) is concerned about the impact of a CSG exploration site near his land at Doubtful Creek. Daniela Voinet Sledge (below left) at a campsite near the CSG exploration site.
Dean Draper (above) is concerned about the impact of a CSG exploration site near his land at Doubtful Creek. Daniela Voinet Sledge (below left) at a campsite near the CSG exploration site. Cathy Adams

NO WORK was able to be completed at the Metgasco CSG work site at Doubtful Creek near Kyogle, with a peaceful blockade settling into a long-term vigil at the site.

Only a contractor's vehicle was allowed to leave the site in the early morning.

Police officers from Casino and Kyogle plus the police dog unit arrived at the blockade site at Eden Creek State Forest about 10am, but after checking the blockade they left by 11.30am.

All contact between the blockade team and police was friendly.

A campsite has been set up in a nearby property with a kitchen, lounges, toilets and camping equipment to allow some of the people at the blockade to rest.

The set-up is aimed to support the anti-CSG blockade group in the long term.

People present at the blockade requested the media not to refer to them as activists.

"We are not activists, people put a very negative meaning to that word. We are just ordinary people, most of us locals, who are involved and care very much about this issue because it affects us all," said one of the women at the campsite.

Dean Draper lives only 3km from the latest mining site set up by Metgasco.

Mr Draper has lived in the area for 15 years, and despite actively working against CSG mining for a couple of years, only found out two months ago that Metgasco was preparing a drilling site "around the corner".

"This is such a big thing that it does not matter whether this is next door or 10km away. This could affect us all," he said.

Mr Draper belongs to the Richmond Valley Group Against Gas and the Kyogle anti-CSG group as his property falls between both areas.

Asked about the landowner that granted access to Metgasco to their property, Mr Draper said that "he is a really good farmer and second- or third-generation in the area."

"I am certain that this farmer did not have the full information to be able to understand exactly what was going to happen," he said.

"Most people here understand that this is not the farmer's fault," Mr Draper said.


Metgasco to open it's door to public

METGASCO will open a shopfront in Casino tomorrow between 9am and 11am to tell the community about coal seam gas and its activities.

"(It) is an ideal opportunity to talk in an informal forum about our business," the company's chief executive Peter Henderson said.

"We want people to have the chance to learn about the natural gas industry and we get the opportunity to listen to ideas and concerns that people have.

"The shopfront will help to demonstrate our industry is safe, proven, backed by the NSW Government and has the potential to provide significant economic value to Casino and the Northern Rivers region."

Topics:  coal seam gas metgasco

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