Coal Seam Gas fears

Ceemac Pty Ltd, a private company which the Times understands has connections to the gas industry, and also has prospective oil and gas exploration licence applications before the NSW Minerals and Resource Division offered no comment about its proposed activities in regions.

The licence application covers 127,000 square kilometres of NSW, including the Cobbora mine area.

The Cobbora project has been approved by the NSW Planning Department but has yet to go through a few hoops including the Planning Assessment Commission which has a public meeting at Dunedoo on Tuesday. It must also get the go ahead from the federal government.

The Times approached Ceemac director Chris McPherson for comment but he said at this stage he couldn't discuss the matter as it was in the hands of the government.

The Greens NSW spokesperson for mining Jeremy Buckingham has called on the government to freeze the application process for a petroleum exploration licence over the Dubbo district given the ongoing community concerns regarding the safety of the coal seam gas, the pending chief scientist's report on the industry, and the major issues raised by the ICAC over the mining licence process.

Ceemac Pty Ltd has applied for three separate petroleum exploration licences covering an area of 127,000 square kilometres including Dubbo, Narromine and Coolah.

"The Greens are astonished that the government would continue to grant new coal seam gas licences given the huge amount of community concern over the industry's risk to land and water," Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

"Today I introduced a motion into the NSW Parliament calling on the government to freeze consideration of all petroleum exploration licence applications until they have responded to the 26 recommendations the ICAC has made to fix the mining application process.

"Many other regions across NSW have been in open rebellion against the intrusion of the coal seam gas industry and to protect the land, water and communities," Mr Buckingham said.

"It would be foolish for the government to allow this risky industry to expand into the Dubbo region.

"If these licences are granted then it is clear the National Party is putting the gas industry's interests ahead of farmers and regional communities.

"I urge the people of Dubbo, Narromine and Coolah to do their research about coal seam gas and its potential impact on their land and lives.

"The Greens are ready to stand with you to defend your community," he said.

The application also covers Canberra, Bourke and Gilgandra together with the Lithgow and Blue Mountains LGA areas.

The Cobbora Coal Mine will be the subject of a Planning Assessment Commission meeting at Dunedoo on Tuesday as part of the proposed mine is in the Wellington LGA.

The Times did ask Mr Mcpherson if Ceemac Pty Ltd had considered coal seam gas mining at the Cobbora mine, he again declined to comment on the issue.


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