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New support for CSG moratorium from all parties

Wednesday, 30 November 2011-The Coal Seam Gas Inquiry Report released today by the Senate Committee on Rural Affairs and Transport has recommended a complete review of the Government’s “jump first, fix later” approach to the risky coal seam gas industry.

The Report made a number of recommendations for better management of CSG operations, including a moratorium on further CSG approvals in MDB overlays of the Great Artesian Basin and in NSW’s Namoi catchment until a number of studies and investigations are completed.

“With so much scientific evidence about the uncertainty of the long-term impacts of CSG, I am delighted that committee members from all parties could agree that the industry needs far better regulation,” Greens mining spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said.

 

“I am also pleased that the other parties have a had a change of heart after voting down my motion in September for a moratorium on new CSG approvals, and are now recommending that we wait for better scientific information before approving some projects.

 

“The Government must now urgently act on these recommendations to protect our groundwater, food security, rural communities and our Reef.

 

“The very first recommendation acknowledges that ‘adaptive management’ – forging ahead and responding to problems as they arise – may not be appropriate given the lack of scientific understanding of the long term impacts of CSG.

 

“Significantly, the Committee also recommends the Great Artesian Basin to be included as a 'matter of national environmental significance' under the EPBC Act. We would welcome federal regulation of the GAB, but think it makes more sense to protect all water resources impacted by mining across Australia - as my bill before the Senate would achieve.

 

“In our additional comments, the Greens called for a holistic and independent study into true life cycle emissions of coal seam gas, so we can finally determine with accuracy the contribution the CSG industry is making to climate change.

 

“This report responds to the widespread and serious concerns held by scientific bodies and Australian communities, and the Government needs to heed the advice of the Committee and radically change its approach to coal seam gas in this country.”

 

The Government now has 3 months to respond to the Inquiry Report.

 

If it accepts the recommendations of the report, the Environment Minister would be obliged to delay his decision on whether to approve the fourth major LNG export project in Queensland, by Arrow Energy, until the CSIRO & Geoscience Australia report is completed by the end of 2012.

 

The Australian Greens additional comments to the report are attached.

The entire report is at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/rat_ctte/mdb/index.htm.

Media contact: Elissa McKay 0419 626 725

 

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