Weather delays airport seismic tests

PLANS to close Casino Airport last week for coal seam gas seismic testing were postponed by weather.

Richmond Valley Council director of works Gary Murphy confirmed that coal seam gas company Metgasco had sought permission to conduct seismic testing in the vicinity of the airport which would have required a temporary closure of the airstrip.

"That would have been dealt with as an operational matter at the airport," he said.

"There's a consultation process required by any applicant for use of the aerodrome so those processes were complied with and from council's perspective there is also the resolution of December that requires us to keep it informed of any associations with coal seam gas companies."

Environmental scientist and CSG opponent, Boudicca Cerese, expressed concern as she thought all approvals for the Casino gas project were completed.

"The only seismic testing that I was aware of from Metgasco's quarterly reports was Rock Valley and Bungabee," she said.

Metgasco spokesman Richard Shields said it was a case of "responsible exploration" and the planned testing was simply to obtain more information in a "low-impact, non-invasive way".

"The alternative is wildcat wells where you just drill where you think the gas is," he said.

"Our exploration manager always wants more data and seismic testing is all about providing good data for the potential for gas.

"Although we've done considerable amounts of seismic testing before, it's always good to get more data especially in areas we haven't really looked at.

"We're still looking at places in that Casino area but we're also looking in the Lismore area - but ... the council said no to seismic testing on the roadsides."

Mr Shields said Metgasco was mindful of the council's decision but happy to wait until it had received further legal advice.

"We still believe that the legal opinion provided to the council was right and we are just continuing with our seismic plans that were approved by government," he said.

"I'm sure ratepayers won't be too happy about that next time rates go up."



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