Council reaffirms gas opposition

SINGLETON Council this week unanimously rejected a request by AGL to use council’s road reserves for coal seam gas exploration.

The decision means  there will be no seismic testing, the process required prior to gas exploration, on any council owned land.  

A public gallery of some 50 people clapped as speakers voiced opposition to coal seam gas and cheered as councillors unanimously rejected the industry. 

AGL wasn’t represented at the meeting. 

Seven people addressed councillors during public access prior to the council debate.

Hunter Valley Protection Alliance’s Graeme Gibson urged councillors to reinstate their 2012 stance towards AGL’s seismic testing. 

“Cessnock, Lismore, and Moree Councils recently refused to give access to AGL and have not been taken to the Supreme Court  so why should council let them use their roads,” he said.  

“These companies reveal a little bit of their plan at a time, there was a similar process in Queensland they did seismic exploration and then 40,000 wells were approved.” 

Chris Robinson from the Lower Belford Residents Alliance said it was more than tourism and land industries at stake.

“It’s the people themselves, hardworking Australia families whose livelihoods suffer, their properties will lose value and they  become stressed if a project were to start,” Mr Robinson said. 

“Questions need to be asked about the safety and impact of the operations before anything can happen,”

Milbrodale’s Geoff Brown said that AGL had shown arrogance towards geographical factors.

“AGL ‘s belief that they can drill through faults and sub faults at the Bulga inlet and elsewhere and have no effect on the water table is ludicrous,” he said.

Councillor Val Scott was strongly opposed to any coal seam gas activity saying that it wasn’t compatible with land industries here.  

Deputy mayor Godfrey Adamthwaite said that the councillors had minds of their own and weren’t following the suit of other councils and we’re judging  AGL’s request that was put forward. 

“And we don’t want them using our roads for seismic testing,” Cr Adamthwaite said. 

Councillor Gary Lowe said that nothing had changed to give reason for the council to change their mind on this issue. 

Council’s decision was timely and came on the eve of New South Wales premier Barry O Farrell’s announcement on Tuesday that any fledgling coal seam gas exploration or operation must have a 2km buffer from the drill site to residential areas or wineries and horse studs. 

Sue Moore: We keep hearing that gas is the way to go, it's new and clean but if we show no caution it could be a gateway to serious problems. What if there is inference with acquifers? We can't risk that.

Sue Moore: We keep hearing that gas is the way to go, it's new and clean but if we show no caution it could be a gateway to serious problems. What if there is inference with acquifers? We can't risk that.