Council OK for moratorium on CSG

RICHMOND Valley Council has joined the growing list of Northern Rivers councils to declare a moratorium on new coal seam gas projects.

Councillors voted to approve the moratorium (Stuart George, who works for Metgasco, and Charlie Cox excluded themselves from the vote) despite previously having opposed a moratorium.

The vote has no legal force but adds pressure on the State Government to act on community concerns about coal seam gas. The council also voted to ask the government to "prioritise" its response to a parliamentary report on the issue.

NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham, who is the party's spokesman on mining, said it was clear the coal seam gas industry "has not got a social licence to operate in NSW".

"Local government is acting to fill the void left by the state government's failure to implement a moratorium on coal seam gas," he said.

"Santos Chief Executive David Knox's assertion that opposition to coal seam gas has 'peaked' is just wishful thinking. We saw a massive rally in Sydney recently, and 7,000 people marched through Lismore just last weekend.  Community understanding and concern continues to grow.

"Last week Marrickville Council voted against allowing coal seam gas at St Peters, and Dart Energy canned their plans to drill. Narrabri Council is considering a motion to stop coal seam gas; Lismore Council has a moratorium; Moree Council, Leichhardt Council, Kyogle Council, Tweed, Byron, Wollongong Council, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly have all expressed concern. 

"There is nothing like a looming election to focus the mind of elected officials, and Councillors across NSW are recognising that the community wants to protect their land and water from the threat of coal seam gas.

"Congratulations to Richmond Valley Council for standing up for their community and a healthy environment."

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