Metgasco chief financial officer Glenda McLoughlin.
Metgasco chief financial officer Glenda McLoughlin.

Metgasco spruiks its transparency

DESPITE the assertions of gas exploration company Metgasco that coal seam gas extraction is safe, Lesley McQueen, of Lynchs Creek, remains unconvinced.

Wearing a t-shirt saying “Don’t Frack With Me”, Ms McQueen joined more than 220 people at an at times heated public meeting in Casino on Monday night to hear from Metgasco.

Metgasco’s chief financial officer, Glenda McLoughlin, said the company did not use hydraulic fracturing – known as fraccing – nor poisonous chemicals in the well-drilling process.

Responding to a question from the audience, Ms McLoughlin also said Metgasco’s access agreements with farmers were voluntary and the company was committed to operating in an open and transparent way.

She also said Metgasco had not finalised a starting point or definitive route for a proposed gas pipeline along the Lions Rd to South-East Queensland.

“I am scared. I felt like they danced around the questions and didn’t give direct answers,” Ms McQueen told The Northern Star.

“I don’t think they will really know the extent of (environmental) damage for 20 years. It’s too late then, isn’t it,” she said.

NSW Labor has moved to counter public concern on the issue by releasing a 10-point plan, which Premier Kristina Keneally said “strikes a balance between the needs of the mining industry and community concerns about environmental protection”.

If re-elected Ms Keneally promised to ban mining licences in waterways adjoining national parks as well as the use of BTEX chemicals in coal seam gas operations.

The Greens, the NSW Farmers Association, and Duncan Gay, Opposition spokesperson on primary industries and energy, all lined up on Monday night to criticise Labor’s plan.

“This 10-point plan is a plan for the mining and gas industry and shows little regard for protecting the critical agricultural land and water resources that are essential for feeding families across the state,” Farmers Association president Charles Armstrong said.

The Greens mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said “the plan fails to address the risk of dewatering aquifers, water contamination from methane, fugitive emissions as well as the myriad of serious human health impacts caused by coal seam gas mining”.

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