Garry Willgoose on The Conversation- NSW CSG-GATEWAY

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Garry Willgoose on The Conversation- NSW CSG-GATEWAY

Postby HVPA_research » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:20 pm

*Archived from HVPA mailing lists *

By way of explanation the author Garry Willgoose was\is the Water adviser to the Hunter Valley CCC ....
I think it is an article worth reading....

New South Wales CSG regulations bring certainty for miners, but not communities


The major flaw with the NPACSG and GATEWAY initiatives is that they aren’t triggered until a project is proposed and put before the independent panels for assessment. Thus it does not cover exploration impacts, which are a state responsibility. This is an important distinction for CSG.

There are two stages to CSG exploration. The first stage involves drilling core holes to retrieve samples of rock for testing. This is relatively low risk and has been a standard part of mining exploration for many decades.

The second stage, however, is specific to CSG and involves drilling pilot wells and testing them for gas flow. These pilot wells are essentially identical to the wells used for CSG production because they are testing the economic potential of the gas field. The water in the well is pumped out in the same way as a production well, and the wells operate for periods up to six months.

If it’s anticipated fracking will be necessary for any subsequent production scheme, the pilot well will be fracked, just like a production well. Thus potential fracking damage may occur before any NPACSG or GATEWAY science approval process is triggered.

For instance, the Pillaga gas field, established by Eastern Star Gas in the Pillaga State Forest in northern NSW (and now owned by Santos), has had numerous environmental problems. Yet it operates under an exploration licence, not a development approval. Despite the demonstrated environmental issues at Pillaga the new regulatory initiatives would have never been triggered and a NPACSG or GATEWAY assessment never required.


Here in the Hunter Valley there is very little faith that NSW government expert commissions such as PAC or GATEWAY can protect local communities from an onslaught of gas and coal mining. Just last October, 2011 a Rio Tinto Warkworth Open Cut Mine was allowed to expand within 2.6km from the village of Bulga by a PAC commission of three government experts (see They are trying to convince the local residents, who already suffer from excessive noise, coal dust air pollution and impacts of mining explosions, that moving the open cut closer to rural residences will have only negligible effect on the families living there. Anyone with a grain of common sense will know that this conclusion is simply WRONG!
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