OPEN MINDED: Darrelyn and Ian Sharman at their farm. They want people to look more into the positive aspects mining can bring to the region.
OPEN MINDED: Darrelyn and Ian Sharman at their farm. They want people to look more into the positive aspects mining can bring to the region. Patrick Gorbunovs

Beef farmers unhappy over CSG attacks

CASINO cattle farmers Ian and Darrelyn Sharman admit they've been vocal about their criticisms of the anti-coal seam gas movement.

After being told by a Metgasco representative in 2008 their farm had a potential drilling site, they took it upon themselves to independently research the science behind coal seam gas extraction.

On a trip to western Canada and Alaska this year for a cattle conference, they met many ranchers positively affected by the long-term gas mining in their area.

But Mrs Sharman said protestors had "hijacked" many of the Casino CSG meetings and she'd given up on them providing independent information

"They've been less than honest and have used scare tactics that are not well founded to stop people being correctly informed," she said.

During the weekend, the Sharmans said they were harassed by anti-CSG protestors while accessing their property on Hockeys La, off Ellangowan Rd, 5km south of Casino and the site of Metgasco's seismic testing.

Three protesters thumped on one side of their car while they were driving in and out of their property, behaviour Mrs Sharman said she found "aggressive and unpleasant".

"It was very irritating that someone would touch our property when they were already stopping us having free access to the land we own," she said.

CSG Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Adam Guise said he had "always promoted peaceful protest" and advised people to contact the police about accusations of harassment.

"I am not in control of the actions of other people... this is a broad social movement with many people from all walks of life who are opposed to CSG mining."

Mrs Sharman said the couple had been inaccurately represented by activists on Facebook as in an "arrangement" with Metgasco.

"We have no relationship at all with Metgasco, we have never received any money from them, and have had minimal communication with them," she said.

"(But) They've been very polite and kept us advised about the seismic testing."

And the couple are not 100% sold on CSG - they want Metgasco to provide a clear statement on the destination for excess water.

She said the behaviour during the weekend and on Facebook was "deliberate intimidation" because the couple have "been vocal" about their belief that some anti-CSG protesters "have been putting out misinformation".



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