Anti-coal seam gas protesters greet the NSW State Government inquiry into the industry in Kyogle earlier this year. The council has slapped a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration on council-owned land.
Anti-coal seam gas protesters greet the NSW State Government inquiry into the industry in Kyogle earlier this year. The council has slapped a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration on council-owned land. Scott Harlum

Kyogle Council says no to CSG

THE Kyogle Council has joined a growing chorus of local governments to impose a moratorium on coal seam gas operations on land they control.

The council voted unanimously on Monday to impose a moratorium "on any seismic testing, exploration drilling or other road reserve disturbance by the CSG industry on council-owned infrastructure or infrastructure under Kyogle Council control".

But importantly, the council also specifically ruled out any "disturbance" by coal seam gas operators of the Lions Rd, north of Kyogle.

Coal seam gas company Metgasco would need access to the Lions Rd to build a proposed pipeline which would deliver gas from the company's Casino gas fields to south-east Queensland.

The decision also seeks to prevent the establishment of "drilling camps" on council-controlled land.

It also makes clear the council "opposes completely" any coal seam gas operations on prime agricultural and high-conservation value land.

"The Kyogle Council is committed to ensuring that the sustainability of agricultural production is not impacted by the relatively short-term coal seam gas industry," the decision read.

Conscious the decision may not be legally enforceable, the council also called on the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils to obtain legal advice on the matter.

"From my perspective it is quite legal and it is quite okay for council to move those recommendations," Kyogle Mayor Ross Brown said.

"But we believe that the State Government has the power to overrule any moratorium that council may impose.

"So it is a political stance by council which will require a political act to overturn it by the State Government."

Kyogle Group Against Gas spokeswoman Boudicca Cerese said the decision sent "a clear message to the State Government that they need to take substantial action to address community concerns" about coal seam gas.

Metgasco was not available yesterday to comment on the decision.

Shares in Metgasco, which were trading at 60 cents in mid-November, were trading yesterday at 39 cents.

 



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