Monday, 27 April 2015

Coal seam and tight gas miner Metgasco Limited sets out on a deliberate collision course with Northern Rivers communities yet again

Coal seam and tight gas miner Metgasco Limited sets out on a deliberate collision course with Northern Rivers communities yet again and, just as before, it intends to drag the NSW Government and police along for the ride.

The Sydney Morning Herald 24 April 2015:

Energy company Metgasco says it will need police to escort gas drilling equipment onto its site on the NSW north coast following a court victory overturning a suspension imposed on it by the state government.
Chief executive Peter Henderson said protesters would return to the site at Bentley once the company seeks to start drilling in about three months' time.
"When we drill now we know there are going to be protesters and we will need police in there to uphold our rights," he said.
"Otherwise NSW will be the state of anarchy."….. [my red bolding]

The Northern Star 24 April 2015:

PROTESTERS will continue to fight Metgasco at Bentley even if the State Government passes legislation banning protests at drilling sites, Ian Gaillard says.
Mr Gaillard, of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, said locals would not allow Metgasco to start drilling at Bentley and called on the State Government to revoke all gas licences…..

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has also expressed his unhappiness with the decision.
"I am extremely disappointed with the decision of the NSW Supreme Court to quash the decision of the NSW Government to suspend Metgasco's drilling licence at Bentley," Mr Gulaptis said.
"I will be urging the Minister to seek every opportunity to appeal this decision because I believe it is wrong."….

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan says it would be "foolish" for Metgasco to consider returning to the region, adding the legal avenues over their licence suspension are far from exhausted.
Mr Hogan said he had been in touch with state colleagues who were already in talks with Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts about grounds for an appeal. He said he was "extremely disappointed" by the news.
"We do not want CSG in the Northern Rivers and we need to do everything we can to make sure that is what happens.
"This isn't over, while they may be feel happy with the decision today, I don't think it's over legally and it's certainly not over as far as them coming back into our community to do what they want to do."
Mr Hogan added it would be "quite foolish" for Metgasco to consider returning to Bentley in the near future.
"I think this community has shown very strongly that they do not want coal-seam gas in this region," he said.
"While they have won this court case, there are still legal options for the state government to take, and the first one would be an appeal.
"I think the suspension should remain until that appeal is heard."

 Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell on Twitter:

Excerpt from NSW Greens media release 24 April 2015:

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said, “Despite the court victory, Metgasco should heed the clear message from the community that they want a gas field free Northern Rivers.  Metgasco should pack up and leave. “If Metgasco try to drill again, the community will resist and I will be standing with them.

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) on Facebook, 25 April 2015:

Excerpt from an editorial in The Northern Star, 25 April 2015:

If past history is anything to go by, protesters will likely be setting up camp at Bentley in the very near future.
So are we back to square one on this issue? Or has the government's election results on the Northern Rivers taught them any lessons?
Considering the government trumpeted its buy back of CSG licences during the last election campaign, perhaps they should extend it to the licence that covers Bentley.
Otherwise we are in for more of the same.
Another blockade at Bentley and the government forced to make the difficult decision of sending hundreds of police officers north, at taxpayers' expense, to remove thousands of protesters.
The NSW Supreme Court has delivered a sharp rebuke to the government which is going to cost them a lot of money.
But the circumstances that led them to the suspension still remain.

Comments published in The Northern Star on 25 April 2015:

Lynne Stebbing: There is going to be trouble!
Hugh Nicholson: This decision only relates to the way the government went about suspending Metgasco's license.
It has nothing to do with the reason for the suspension - namely Metgasco's failure to consult with the community. Go away Metgasco.

From Land Water Future tweet on 24 April 2015:


The Northern Star 27 April 2015:

Bentley landowners Meg and Peter Nielsen believe that if energy company Metgasco returns to the region public resistance will be even stronger than it was at last year's blockade.
"It will be on for young and old," Mr Nielsen declared.
"Our resolve will never turn. Metgasco would be absolutely foolish to try it again."
But the couple believes the NSW Government will "see common sense" before it comes to that.

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