(Reblogged from North Coast Voices)
Clarence Valley Council Ordinary Council Meeting
Tuesday 21 February 2012
|CSG well in the Pilliga|
As Councillors are aware, Coal Seam Gas (CSG) operations in NSW and on the North Coast are coming under community scrutiny and there are great community concerns regarding the affects CSG activities will have on the environment and on prime agriculture land. The following recommendation proposes to give Council a general policy position on the matter.
Whilst Clarence Valley Council acknowledges their statutory responsibilities in relation to planning development applications and assessment, Council as a matter of social responsibility and in the long term sustainability interests of the environment and the community which they represent, does not support or endorse Coal Seam Gas activities within the Clarence Valley area and will not alter this position until such time as;
1.There are clear land use legislation and policies enacted by the NSW Government to responsibly guide and regulate the Coal Seam Gas industry in relation to their activities and in particular with the impact on and/or loss of prime agriculture land and other environmentally sensitive issues; and
2. It is scientifically proven and demonstrated that the impacts of the Coal Seam Gas industry will not result in any significant and detrimental environment outcomes particularly in relation to aquifer water quality;
3. The General Manager be directed to report to Council for their consideration any development application made to Clarence Valley Council which involves proposed activities associated with the Coal Seam Gas industry on Council land.
4. The State and Federal Governments be informed of Clarence Valley Council position.
Council will also be aware that Kyogle and Lismore City Councils late last year passed motions which have imposed moratoriums on Council owned lands. These motions are now coming under legal scrutiny. On this point, the NOROC meeting held on 3 February 2012 unanimously resolved the following;
“That NOROC seek legal advice on behalf of member councils in relation to the implications of imposing moratoriums on seismic testing, exploration and other coal seam gas activities on roadside reserves and council-controlled land.”
Given that further legal advice is being sought on behalf of NOROC regarding the validity of the motions that have been carried by Lismore and Kyogle and the fact that Clarence Valley Council is not in receipt of any applications for activities on Council owned land, I am not proposing a similar moratorium at this stage, however, should the Council be in the receipt of an application for consideration and/or once the legal advice is received, this position could change. It is noted that no applications have been lodged with Clarence Valley Council to-date.
I have also asked the General Manager to report any applications to the Council for seismic testing or exploration activities on Council land. This will allow the Council can make a decision based on the merit of the application.
I also represented Council at the “A Division Conference” of the NSW Shires Association. The division also passed the following
That "A" Division call on the NSW State Government to release the terms and conditions controlling the issue of licences for coal seam gas mining within the Northern Rivers area immediately.”
I also consider it important for Councillors and the community to realise that Council cannot abrogate their statutory decision making responsibilities and obligations in relation to development applications and associated planning matters and as such the recommendation as stated above is prepared in the context of Council’s social and community responsibility.
I believe that leadership on the issue by the State Government is required to identify what the parameters are for the coal seam gas industry.
Cr Richie Williamson
The Mayor's office confirms that this Minute was unanimously supported by Clarence Valley councillors attending the Ordinary Monthly Meeting of 21 February 2012.