NSW farmers lift CSG blockade after Santos suspends drilling

Beef Central, 15/11/2011

The Lock the Gate Alliance is claiming a victory after resource company Santos announced it will suspend drilling activities at Spring Ridge on the Liverpool Plains until next year.

The announcement comes after farmers blockaded Santos' coal seam gas project at Spring Ridge for the past three weeks. The blockade was conducted by the Caroona Coal Catchment Group, a group that is a member of the Lock the Gate Alliance.

Santos this morning announced that it will suspend drilling activities until the completion of the Namoi Catchment Water Study, which is due in March 2012. The study will determine the vulnerability of underground and surface water systems.

Santos’ decision has resulted in the blockade being called off this morning.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the result was a vindication of the lock the gate strategy.

"What began as a desperate attempt by Queensland landowners in October 2010 to slow down the rapid expansion of coal and coal seam gas mining across productive farm land has turned into a social movement that has forced governments and resource companies to re-evaulate their activities," Mr Hutton said.

"We have said from day one that the coal seam gas industry should not be given approvals until all social and environmental issues have been properly addressed and, even if governments gave their formal approval, we would withdraw the industry's social licence until the science was in.

"Now all communities need to do the same. I am calling on all community groups associated with the Lock the Gate Alliance to withdraw their cooperation completely from this industry.

"That means a complete refusal by landowners to negotiate access by the companies and to blockade their activities if they attempt to enter communities.

"From Longreach to Margaret River this industry must be brought to a halt to ensure we don't destroy our food bowls, our underground water systems and the health and amenity of rural communities in a mad gas rush.

"If governments won't do this the people will – community by community."


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