A large group of people came to Petersham Town Hall last night to hear about the drilling for gas in St Peters. Cate Faerhmann MLC, Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, John Thompson from the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance & Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance QLD were the speakers.
Steven Wong, Minister for NSW Department of Industry & Investment who approved the drilling exploration did not respond to an invitation to attend. City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore was in a Council meeting, but sent a letter that was read to the audience. The letter said that City of Sydney Council did not know of the mining application & they were not approached or part of the approval process. It was the same for Marrickville Council. Neither Councils knew this was happening.
The following were the main points I gained from the meeting –
- That gas exploration was approved for St Peters only came to light because of a Greens call for papers of gas mining in NSW. The St Peters exploration was found when looking through the papers.
- Apollo Gas has been given the Exploration Approval License in St Peters. They are currently undergoing a takeover bid so were not able to attend. Apollo Gas identifies key stake-holders in their documents, but they have admitted they have not done any consultation. They said they will do consultation when they are looking at drilling & that they probably won’t need to do fracking within the Sydney area (but this isn’t a given). Apollo Gas said the people of St Peters should be okay with the noise from 24-hour drilling 7 days a week because they already live in a noisy area. They said there is a risk that they will contaminate the ground water, but this was okay because the water was already contaminated. Apollo Gas are currently waiting to see what the City of Sydney’s 2030 Energy Strategy will be. The St Peters site will be Apollo Gas’s first drilling operation.
- The industry is unregulated in NSW. Coal seam gas mining is not covered in either the NSW Environment Act or the NSW Water Act or the Federal Water Act.
- Ground water is under pressure. If you drill into it, it destabilizes. Other ground water aqua filters move into the area that has less pressure resulting in changes to the whole water table. Whole areas are lost as ground water moves to areas of less pressure.
- When they drill they use hydrocarbons, benzene & many other chemicals. Leakage of gas is also a serious concern.
- There is never just one gas well. Other wells would be needed around 400-500 metres apart.
- Recent Cornell University research found that the CO2 footprint for coal seam gas production is 20% higher than producing dirty coal.
The residents who asked questions wanted to know about their legal rights, whether parks & private property would be used for gas wells, what the mining company will do with the large amounts of water extracted & whether methane gas (from 10 metres of impacted land fill garbage) has anything to do with why construction work appears to have halted on the IKEA site.
There is a tentative date for a
public meeting at 11am on Saturday 11th December 2010 at the corner of Sydney Park. I will post with details once I know.
This is confirmed –
- Rally Against Coal Seam Gas in Sydney
- 11am Sunday 19th December 2010
- Corner of Campbell Road & Euston Street St Peters