David Yarnell.
David Yarnell.

Rous against CSG mine in catchment

THE Northern Rivers' water authority has taken a stand against the coal-seam gas industry.

Rous Water has voted to oppose coal-seam gas mining, exploration and associated activities in its catchment area and on its land.

It will also write to the NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher requesting it be given the right to comment on any CSG applications made across four shire councils.

Two councillors abstained from voting yesterday as they declared conflicts of interest when it came to CSG.

Cr Keith Johnson said he had significant interests in mining companies, while Cr Stuart George works for mining company Metgasco.

The motion initially put forward by Cr David Yarnall was to "prohibit" CSG activities on Rous Water land.

"We need to look at a precautionary principle and protect our water supplies as is our statutory duty," Cr Yarnall said.

But Cr Richard Staples of Byron Shire said the motion didn't go far enough.

"Congratulations to Cr Yarnall for coming up with this but I think it's too wussy," Cr Staples declared.

An amendment to the motion by Cr Vanessa Ekins was then passed to state the council would "oppose" CSG activities within its land and within its water catchments.

Rous Water then unanimously carried the motion against CSG.

Managing director and CEO of Metgasco Ltd, Peter Henderson, would not be drawn on the implications for his company.

"The coal-seam gas industry is a highly regulated industry administered by the NSW Government," Mr Henderson said.

"Metgasco will continue to comply with all regulatory, legislative and land-access requirements prescribed by the NSW Government."

The move follows decisions from Richmond Valley, Lismore City and Tweed Shire councils to declare a moratorium on new coal-seam gas projects.

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