The Lock the Gate Alliance has expressed grave concern at a finding by the NSW Chief Scientist that the coal seam gas industry is under-insured, or in some cases not insured at all, for a pollution event or other disaster.
In her latest report into a review of the CSG industry the chief scientist, Mary O’Kane, found that there was no standard approach to insurance take-up across the industry and stricter insurance requirements were needed.
Campaign coordinator for Lock the Gate Carmel Flint said the failure of CSG companies to take-out adequate insurance was further evidence of how they failed as good corporate citizens.
“In the event of a major catastrophe or even a relatively minor leak the tax payer could be the one left having to foot the bill for rehabilitation or decontamination,” Ms Flint said.
“This is yet another example of how the CSG industry thinks it is above the law and can do what it likes with our environment and our health. This industry cannot even be bothered to cover itself for a mishap, instead expecting the community to clean-up any mess.
“Adequate insurance should be a minimum requirement before any CSG permits are granted or even accepted for consideration.”
A second report by the chief scientist also released at the weekend examined the impact on the Sydney water catchment of coal seam gas and coal mining and found that the cumulative impacts of multiple activities, or even single activities, on the water catchment could not be determined.
Ms Flint said while the review warned about the lack of data it said coal mining could proceed in the catchment, a situation she said seemed at odds with the finding. The report said fracking should not go ahead.
“The report also warned about the lack of information and comprehensive environmental monitoring in the Sydney water catchment and basically said that we are relying on mining companies or others to report pollution incidents when they happen.
“That that is not an acceptable way to safeguard a water resource that 4 million people rely on,” Ms Flint said.
Further information: Carmel Flint 0400 521 474