RICHMOND Valley Council has rejected a move to place a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) operations on land it controls.
Councillors voted 6-2 at Tuesday's meeting to reject a proposal by councillor Donella Kinnish similar to those approved recently by the Lismore City and Kyogle councils.
However councillors backed a motion requiring the council to be told of any CSG exploration licence applications affecting land it controls or Crown land.
Councillor Stuart George, who is employed by mining company Metgasco, declared a conflict of interest and abstained from the vote.
In a surprise move Cr Kinnish proposed the moratorium to the spontaneous applause of CSG opponents who had filled the council's chambers for the meeting.
"We must be cautious and apply the precautionary principle," she said.
Cr Kinnish was supported in her motion by Cr Charlie Cox.
"In my general readings and from talking to people I think there are sufficient concerns out there for us to take a cautious approach," Cr Cox said.
But he was keen to point out he supported the council's economic development policy.
He also said he was aware the potential for a local fuel source had attracted inquiries from businesses interested in relocating to the area.
"(But) we have survived so far without CSG and I don't think any delay will have a great long-lasting impact," he said.
Mayor Col Sullivan, who voted against a moratorium, said he had concerns about coal seam gas drilling and for the future of agricultural land, but could not support a move which had no legal basis.
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