In response to NSW Nationals MP for Clarence and member of the O’Farrell Government, Steve Cansdell, who appeared more intent on supporting mining interests and attempting to score political points against the ALP in yesterday’s The Northern Star article MP Cansdell stands by Metgasco (rather than listening to the concerns of his constituents) the Federal MP for Page issued this media release:
Saffin hits back at Cansdell on coal seam gas
Page MP Janelle Saffin has hit back at Clarence MP Steve Cansdell over his claims that local opposition to coal seam gas mining is largely inspired by the U.S documentary, ‘Gaslands’.
“I would point out to Steve that people in our community, particularly farmers and landholders – traditionally National Party supporters - first raised alarm bells over coal seam gas exploration well before ‘Gaslands’ came out.
“I also take exception to his suggestion that public figures’ support for a Coal seam gas moratorium is partly ‘based on a desire to be everyone’s friend’.
“I can assure Steve that if I was concerned with being everyone’s friend, it would be a lot easier to sit back and keep quiet.
“As I did with the issue of aerial chemical spraying of forest plantations in Coaldale and other local areas, I have listened to the community, investigated the issue and then raised my concerns.
“Public figures have a duty to listen, to lead and to guide and where there are community concerns, particularly involving possible health and environmental risks, we are obliged to raise questions and seek assurances.
“It is for that reason, and not ‘a desire to be everyone’s friend’, that I have now thrown my support behind the call for a coal seam gas moratorium by Lismore, Kyogle and Ballina councils, Rous Water County Council and Northern Rivers Tourism.
“The moratorium may not happen, but I support the process and recognise the concerns of farmers and landholders and other local residents.
“I notice Steve says that any gas miner that breached laws and damaged aquifers needed to face heavy fines. That is not the sort of process that inspires confidence in the community. We need to make sure that our aquifers are not at risk in the first place.
“I have no problem with Metgasco and I welcome clean, safe, natural gas production in our region.
“But the community needs to be assured that any mining in our region is clean and safe.” Ms Saffin said.
“At this stage, they are not assured.”
Ms Saffin plans to attend the public meeting on coal seam gas mining at the Grafton Ex-Services Club on Thursday evening, 19 May.
May 18, 2011
Media contact: Lee Duncan 0448 158 150