An estimated 2,000 people have joined residents of Bentley, west of Lismore in the Northern Rivers, this morning to oppose drilling at the site by unconventional gas miner Metgasco.
The gas company is undertaking an exploration well at Bentley that will target tight sands gas. Tight sands gas uses unconventional extraction methods like those used to extract coal seam gas, and involves large numbers of wells, extensive infrastructure, and risky fracking processes.
"We are here at this blockade to try to protect the valuable farmland and quiet rural lifestyle that we value so much from invasive gasfields" said Bentley resident Liz Stops.
"In a survey undertaken in our local area 84.5 % of 266 residents said that they do not want to live in a gasfield.
"The property owner where the drilling is scheduled to occur does not even live here.
"It is the rest of us whose home it is who will have to live with the consequences of this industry" she said.
"We are enormously grateful that 2,000 committed citizens from across the Northern Rivers have come to join us to protect our beautiful region from the impacts of gas industrialisation" said local Bentley landholder Ross Joseph.
"We appreciate the extraordinary courage and determination they have shown in opposing these drilling operations.
"We believe the NSW Government is planning to send in large numbers of police to force their way on to the site this morning, on behalf of the gas company.
"We're asking them to urgently reconsider that approach, and to instead act now to discontinue unwelcome gas drilling in our region" he said.