George gives support to CSG

IF TAPPING into coal seam gas is the only way to combat a looming energy crisis, it is a path Lismore MP Thomas George says he is prepared to go down.

The revelation came after the State Government forwarded a submission to Canberra warning gas supply to regional NSW could run short as early as 2014.

The submission, to be included in the Federal Government's draft white paper on energy, suggested CSG was the solution to keeping household bills down.

In the past many of the state's Coalition MPs have publicly voiced their opposition to the use of CSG and its impact on rural land, but Mr George had been reluctant to comment.

Yesterday Mr George said he would support whatever measures needed to be taken to keep energy costs down so long as there was no "unreasonable" impact on farmers and the environment.

"A very big concern for local residents is the rapid increase in the cost of energy," Mr George said.

"I support making sure we have a good supply of gas and electricity, which will drive down costs and that is what the State Government's submission is highlighting.

"I am supporting my residents 100% when it comes to getting increased energy and lower costs for gas and electricity, but if CSG is necessary to drive down costs it has to be delivered in a way that doesn't impact on farmers or the environment."

Unreasonable doesn't begin to describe the impact CSG would have, according to environmental scientist Boudicca Cerese.

The spokeswoman for the Northern Rivers Lock the Gate alliance said the flow-on health and environmental effects would be "disastrous".

She said rural NSW regional landscape would be pitted with gas wells "just like Queensland" where the two biggest CSG companies export the majority of their resources.

"It doesn't make sense. We believe the government needs to be taking a whole approach to the development of renewable resources rather than the current stance which seems to be 'let's fully support CSG and withdraw from looking into renewable possibilities'."

Ballina MP Don Page was contacted for comment but did not respond by deadline.

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