Coal gas drilling begins west of Helensburgh

DRILLING has begun on a new coal seam gas (CSG) well west of Helensburgh.

Drilling started on the well in the Illawarra coal measures in the Warragamba catchment, under an agreement between Apex Energy and Ormil Energy.

State MP for Keira Ryan Park said he is disappointed with the announcement.

“I have been fighting since I was elected to have some more scientific based studies carried out in relation to this industry,” Mr Park said.

“Residents need to be assured that their water supply is not impacted.”

Mr Park said the companies wouldn’t be working on coal seam gas wells unless they thought they would have the opportunity to extract the gas somewhere in the future.

“What I am arguing for is a suspension to this exploration and drilling until an independent study into this industry is carried out.”

Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said she is horrified to hear that drilling has started.

“This is step one of a project that risks the drinking water of people supplied by Warragamba Dam,” she said.

“There is now more than enough evidence that CSG mining brings risks.

“The contamination of water and soil in NSW and Queensland show the need for an immediate moratorium on all CSG projects and a royal commission into the full impacts of the industry.”

Ms Moore said 74 per cent of people in NSW support a moratorium on CSG mining until more is known about the health and environmental impacts.

“It is an outrage that water resources are at risk and the Government is not stopping it; is not listening to the people of NSW.”

Mr Park has urged the NSW Government to sign up to the National Coal Seam Gas Partnership Agreement.

The Federal Government initiative will provide advice on Coal Seam Gas, allowing access to information such as the potential impact on water resources, especially sensitive areas like the Illawarra catchment area.

“The bottom line is we need more evidence that coal seam gas do not impact our water supply. There can be no further advances in this industry until we have all the facts. The community deserves this kind of assurance,” Mr Park said.

About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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