Saturday 28 May 2011

Report on Coal Seam Gas Seminar in Grafton 19th May

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), Lismore, held a seminar in Grafton on coal seam gas mining on 19th May.  Around 80 people attended the seminar which was part of the Earth Matters series conducted by the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition and the Clarence Environment Centre. Presenters were EDO  Education Officer, Mark Byrne and Senior Solicitor, Sue Higginson.

Seminar Audience          Photo: Lynette Eggins
In the Northern Rivers area, which is part of the Clarence Moreton Basin, three companies – Metgasco, Arrow and Red Sky – are currently involved in exploration for coal seam gas.

Some of the environmental concerns outlined by Mark Byrne in his presentation included:
  • Potential contamination of groundwater
  • Disposal of water produced during drilling (This water could contain salt, naturally occurring heavy metals, plus chemicals used in the drilling and fracking process – if fracking is used.)
  • Effects of floods on evaporation ponds used to store produced water
  • Release of methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere

Other matters discussed in the seminar included petroleum law basics for both exploration and production, landholder rights and what could be done with regard to increasing safeguards to protect the community.

The slides used in the presentation can be downloaded from the EDO Northern Rivers website.