Fearful of impact of CSG pipeline
COAL seam gas company Metgasco has sought to allay fears the company has plans to dredge the Evans and Clarence Rivers to construct a gas pipeline.
Speculation has been rife in the community since mid-November that Metgasco had plans to dredge the rivers to carry a pipeline from their Casino gas operations to link with an off-shore gas processing facility.
Peter Ellem, the Country Labor candidate for the Clarence by-election, raised the issue as part of his by-election campaign.
"Metgasco has already flagged a proposal to build a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility off the North Coast to process coal seam gas from Casino and export overseas," Mr Ellem said.
"If Metgasco is allowed to proceed with these plans, we could see the Clarence or Evans Rivers being dredged so a pipeline could be built from Casino out to sea.
"Dredging the Clarence or Evans Rivers would see us facing a pulp mill-style scenario similar to the one the region faced in the 1980s, which would have a disastrous impact on the fishing, tourism and farming industries.
"We have already faced the complete destruction of our river with the pulp mill proposal back in the 1980s - we cannot risk the health and future of our precious river again by allowing it to be dredged, especially for the coal seam gas industry," he said.
Mr Ellem said Metgasco's proposal was "extremely concerning for local residents, farmers, fishers and the businesses that rely on tourists coming to the Clarence to experience and enjoy our stunning rivers and beaches".
But Metgasco has denied it has any plans to dredge the rivers or to construct a pipeline through the area.
Metgasco external relations manager, Richard Shields, said the offshore facility was only a proposal at this stage.
No planning has been done to see where a pipeline would go in the future.
"I can guarantee this: there will be no dredging of any rivers," he said.