Ward's stance on CSG activity welcomed

A commitment from Kiama MP Gareth Ward to lobby to have coal seam gas activities banned in water catchment areas has been welcomed by the Kiama Greens.

On Tuesday night more than 300 people crammed into the Gerringong Town Hall to attend a public meeting to discuss issues surrounding CSG, including the recent renewal of Leichhardt Resources' exploration licence (PEL469) which covers the southern Illawarra.

The meeting was organised by the Kiama Greens and Gerringong resident Ken O'Hara and speakers included Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham.

MORE: CSG groundswell builds in the Illawarra

Kiama Greens councillor Andrew Sloan said concerns were raised over the way planning approvals had been granted in the past.

He said the promise by Mr Ward did come as a surprise, although it was a welcome one.

"It remains to be seen what caucus says," Cr Sloan said.

Mr Ward said the interest and concern in coal seam gas activities shown at the meeting was understandable.

"People have seen what has happened in other parts of the globe where unregulated and unsupervised activities have taken place with little care for the long-term health of the environment," Mr Ward said.

"While water catchments are subject to stringent controls and scientific analysis, I believe that CSG extraction in water catchments should be banned.

"In water catchments you can get a fine of up to $40,000 for riding a horse, whereas at the end of the spectrum CSG extraction could be permitted.

"I will be taking this matter up along with my parliamentary colleagues and with the minister for energy and resources."

Mr Ward has convened a meeting with Illawarra regional mayors on May 6 to listen to their concerns about coal seam gas.

Meantime, a community group has been set up to fight any plans to drill for coal seam gas in the Shoalhaven area.

CSG Free Shoalhaven will hold its first public meeting at the Nowra School of Arts on Tuesday, May 14 from 6.30pm.

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