Protection of Water a Must on Coal Seam Gas
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has supported an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act that will establish an Independent Expert Scientific Committee to examine coal seam gas and large scale coal mining development.
Mr Coulton said the committee’s role would be to provide scientific advice to governments on relevant coal seam gas and large scale coal mining projects and to fund water resource assessment for priority regions.
“While this bill affects the whole of Australia it is particularly relevant to my electorate because, while coal seam gas exploration and extraction has been undertaken in Queensland for some years, it is a relatively new industry to the Parkes Electorate.”
“This is a red-hot issue in my electorate and we do need independent information.”
Mr Coulton spoke strongly about the need to ensure that aquifers are protected, with no long term negative impacts, and his belief in the region’s capability of continual agricultural production for thousands of years.
Mr Coulton was hopeful that this amendment was a step in the right direction, and would help to establish a scientific basis to determine what land would be suitable for large scale coal mining and coal seam gas extraction.
“As a nation we do have a responsibility to harness whatever resources we can in a sustainable fashion.”
Irrespective of Mr Coulton’s endorsement of the amendment to the EPBC he also emphasized several areas of concern to landholders including land access and compensation.
“The nature of the location of these gas reserves and the landscape above them is extremely variable. The committee will provide the information to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between underground resources and surface activity.”
“We do need to protect our environment and we do need to protect farmers’ rights.”