GREENS MP Cate Faehrmann has renewed calls for a moratorium on coal seam gas drilling after The Northern Star revealed at least two sites on the Northern Rivers were leaking.

The Star yesterday revealed there were more than 50 drill sites in place or approved across the region.

It revealed two supposedly sealed drill sites near Bentley were leaking methane gas through the soil.

Metgasco, which is responsible for the sites, insists the leaking gas is not entering underground water reservoirs around the drill sites.

Ms Faehrmann, the NSW Greens’ mining spokeswoman, said the leaks showed the ‘urgent need’ for a moratorium on coal seam drilling.

“Recently released Coalition and Labor policies will fail to protect water supplies, farmlands and communities from the gas rush that is happening in NSW right now,” Ms Faehrmann said.

Meanwhile, the Shut the Gate coalition, which opposes coal seam gas drilling, is showing screenings of the US documentary Gasland, at Ballina Fair cinema on February 28, at 7pm, and at Byron Bay’s Dendy cinema on March 1, at 6.45pm.

"What is needed is an immediate halt to all projects, not vague commitments for review over the coming years.

"The gas companies are spreading misinformation about the safety of their wells, and the government appears to be taking its advice direct from the industry.

"Coal seam gas wells cannot be turned off. Once a well is drilled and ’fracced’, the gas will continue to flow to the surface through cracks in the earth and water until the source is exhausted.

"There is more and more information coming from contaminated sites in the US, Queensland and now NSW, to suggest that all gas wells leak to some degree.”

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