Len Roberts, Great Lakes Deputy Mayor talks about Coal Seam Gas

There has been incorrect information being circulated through social media particularly on Tea Gardens online regarding council’s position on coal seam gas.Len cmyk copy copy

Council was unanimous in its decision to defer discussion on the matter at the February meeting in favour of a regional approach and wanted to know the Midcoast Water position as it represented Taree, Gloucester and Great Lakes councils with respect to drinking water.

It was unfortunate that the person posting the information failed to check with the council.

If you feel that council has adopted a position that you feel is strange, rather than just accept it, please check the facts.

Carol and I are available to talk about matters.

It only takes a phone call or an email. I hope in this case it was a genuine mistake.

It is not well publicised, but a couple of years ago when CSG exploration was happening at Bulahdelah, I took the concerns of the people to council and we were perhaps the first council to unanimously take a strong policy position.

Other councils followed our lead.

When Midcoast water, adopted an even stronger commitment, Taree Gloucester and Great lakes adopted their statement as a united stand.

At our March meeting I was privileged to move the following motion with the support of all but 2(who wanted the words is concerned changed to; does not have confidence).

The motion which was adopted by council was: With the information presently available, Great Lakes, Council is concerned that Coal Seam Gas developments cannot be undertaken without causing unacceptable impacts on the local community and the environment.

Therefore; Council endorses, supports and adopts the Midcoast water position statement regarding extractive industries and includes it in Council’s policy register.

The position statement is as follows: “MidCoast Water and Great Lakes Council support the view that extractive industries, both existing and proposed, have the potential to impact on water resources through both water consumption, and impacts on water quality.

A consistent supply of high quality water is essential for the communities of our region for the present and into the future.

Any extractive industry should not adversely impact water resources.

A detailed consideration of a proposed development’s potential impacts on the region’s water cycle should be undertaken prior to its approval.

Consideration of impacts should incorporate appropriate temporal and spatial scales to ensure longterm effects are captured and the connectivity between elements of the hydrologic cycle is recognised.

It must also include both point and diffuse source pollution loads, and the ultimate return of diverted water to the hydrologic cycle.

The ‘precautionary principle’ and the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development should be applied in approving any mining development.

Any approved development should, as a minimum, be demonstrated to maintain the existing water environment and the quantity and quality of water in that environment during and beyond the life of the development.

he use of extracted water use should be shown to be efficient. Its return to the water cycle should provide tangible benefits.”

This I believe is a very sensible and forthright approach to the matter.

Whilst there are no Coal seams within Great Lakes (wrong geology) we should be united with our water utility provider who is affected in other parts of its catchment.

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