Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

CSG Protection Welcomed

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

CSG Protection Welcomed

Article excerpt

FARMERS have welcomed the inclusion of ground and surface water in the Federal GovernmentCOs environmental assessment process for coal seam gas and large coal mining projects.

The change was announced by Environment Minister Tony Burke, bowing to pressure within the Labor caucus and public concern over how CSG and big coal mines were affecting ground water.

The large increase in the take of water from aquifers seems to be unsustainable Co in the driest country on earth, we must not sacrifice our underground water for a short-term financial gain.

New South Wales Farmers president Fiona Simson said primary producers had consistently said stronger regulatory frameworks were needed to place sensible limits on mining and CSG proposals.

C[pounds sterling]It is not surprising the federal environment minister has seen a need to step in,C[yen] Ms Simson said.

C[pounds sterling]Improvements are still needed at a state level to give farmers and rural communities confidence that the risks to their land and water from CSG and large coal-mining developments will be managed.C[yen]

Mr Burke announced groundwater and surface water would now be included among the Matters of National Environmental Significance for such projects.

While Mr Burke said the new criteria would be included for any future CSG or large coal mining assessments, existing approved projects, such as the three major projects in Queensland, would not be subject to the new conditions.

He said any applications for such developments which had not yet been assessed by the IESC would now be subject to water conditions.

The change also comes after pressure from independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott on the issue, despite the Government not supporting a Greens bill that did much the same thing.

It also comes after growing concerns among primary producers and environmentalists in Queensland over the proposed Arrow Energy CSG project. …

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