CSG seminar to run despite Govt ban

A FREE public information seminar about coal seam gas mining planned for Casino on August 11 will go ahead despite a decision by the State Government last week to permanently ban the use of toxic chemicals by miners and place a moratorium on the controversial “fracking” process until year’s end.

NSW Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher on Thursday announced the new regime for the coal seam gas mining, which includes a ban on BTEX chemicals (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes) in drilling, and tougher restrictions on the use of groundwater.

However, the government has decided not to extend a 60-day moratorium on new exploration licences for coal, coal seam gas and petroleum which ended on Saturday.

The Casino seminar is being presented by the Northern Rivers Environmental Defender’s Office and the Richmond Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association.

Association president Mavis Mohammed said there was intense interest in the community about coal seam gas mining and people wanted to learn more about the whole process including the potential impacts and possible benefits.

Four speakers will address the seminar – Mark Byrne and Sue Higginson from the Environmental Defenders Officer; Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith from the national Toxics Network; and Peter Henderson, the chief executive officer of Metgasco.

Each of the four speakers will be given 15 minutes to present their case and have five minutes to answer questions from the floor. There would be another 30 minute question time after all four speakers had addressed the meeting.

A large crowd is expected to attend the seminar which will run from 6pm to about 8pm.

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