Residents of the Shire and the Illawarra face an uncertain future as the potential for coal seam gas (CSG) operations in the Woronora catchment remains, despite the state government’s buyback of a licence covering the Sydney basin. Despite protest and evidence longwall coal mining operations in the drinking water catchments of the Woronora and Cataract dams just to the south of Sydney is set to continue and possibly expand. http://www.theleader.com.au/story/2931733/woronora-worries-government-coal-seam-gas-licence-buyback-not-enough/
Isabel McIntosh, spokeswoman for the Protect Sydney’s Water Alliance (PSWA), said 90 per cent of Sydney’s water catchments were still covered by other coal seam gas licences- and that these projects are responsible for the cracking and draining of feeder swamps and streams of those drinking water dams and points out that such damage is not denied by the companies responsible. The PSWA’s view is that “If the government is genuine about putting in place protection against the health and water risks of coal seam gas mining, it must also cancel licences PEL 442, 444, 454 and 2 that cover the special areas of Sydney drinking water catchments and contributing water flows’’.
The NSW Greens have called for a ban on coal seam gas mining:
and in March Larissa Waters introduced a bill to Federal Parliament that would use the corporations power under the Constitution to give landholders, including farmers, local councils and native title holders, the legal right to say no to coal and gas exploration and mining: http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/federal-greens-bill-use-constitution-give-farmers-native-title-holders-and-lo
Senator Waters points out that bans or moratoriums are already in place in a few countries and territories , e.g., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Wales, Scotland, New York State in the USA and Quebec in Canada.
Banning such mining will be a long and difficult task. Whilst evidence for the dangers of such mining is slowly emerging it is doing so despite efforts by authorities and concerned companies to support thorough and independent research. The US EPA on June 5 2015: confirmed what communities living with fracking have known for years: fracking pollutes drinking water. After years of asserting that hydraulic fracturing has never tainted drinking water, the Obama administration issued a long-awaited study of the controversial oil and gas production technique that confirmed “specific instances” when fracking “led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.” The conclusion was central to a nearly 1,000-page draft assessment issued by the EPA to address public concerns about the possible effects of fracking on drinking water. Even so the US EPA has qualified its findings so that regulation in many parts of the US is still doubtful for a full overview see:
More information can be found at the following links: