Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell at the No Gas Rig Gig in 2013.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell at the No Gas Rig Gig in 2013. Contributed Jimmy Malecki

Mayor predicts backlash to Metgasco seismic testing

LISMORE mayor Jenny Dowell has predicted police and "a lot of government resources" would be needed in the event of gas mining company Metgasco proceeding with tentative plans to conduct seismic testing in Rock Valley.

The company made an initial inquiry via a phone call to Lismore City Council this week about the matter.

The company has also flagged a return to Bentley before the end of the year.

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson said the company was planning to commence testing "in the next couple of months with the Rosella well [at Bentley] soon thereafter".

A spokeswoman said the company would be in a position to "discuss details and schedules in the next few weeks".
Lismore City Council passed a resolution in 2011 banned any seismic testing on its roads.

The council received legal advice then that it had the power to block the company from conducting seismic testing along its roads and verges, but Cr Dowell said it was a "grey area".

And changes to the Petroleum (Onshore) Act made by the NSW Government since may have blocked the loophole.

The council opposed these planned changes in a letter addressed to Premier Mike Baird in December 2013.

Cr Dowell questioned whether Metgasco was serious about moving forward with its plans given the fierce level of opposition.

"I don't know whether this is a red rag to the state government saying… 'we want our compensation' or whether they're serious and want to push ahead with exploration," Cr Dowell said.

"It would require consideration for police… and a lot of government resources if that was their decision."

"Our community is not just going to let this happen. We've seen that previously at Bentley and that opposition has not gone away."

"Why Lismore, when it's clearly been demonstrate that we have a very high level of opposition here?"

"It seems to me like very foolish move but I think there is motivations there that go beyond the need for seismic testing."

Cr Dowell said staff had written to Metgasco is response asking them to put a request in writing and including their authority to do so.

"In the meantime council's attitude is no," she said.



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