Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the reprieve from the threat of coal seam gas for wine-makers in the Hunter and the water catchments of Sydney and the Central Coast with the announcement by AGL that they are selling three Petroleum Exploration Licences back to the NSW Government.
AGL released this morning the results of a review of the company’s Upstream Gas operations, including the sell-back of the three PELs and a write-down of the value of the company’s Gloucester gas project of $193 million.
"The sell-back of these three petroleum exploration licences is a huge relief to people in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter wine-growing regions.
"Lock the Gate sincerely congratulates communities in the Central Coast, Macarthur and the Illawarra on the sell-back of the huge Petroleum licence threatening Sydney’s drinking water and the Central Coast.
"The wine-growers of the Hunter will likewise be relieved that their sustainable and prosperous rural industry is not going to be risked for reckless coal seam gas."
"The write-down in the value of coal seam gas projects generally and Gloucester in particular is testament to the ongoing problems with this industry and resistance to it from the community. Problems with waste water storage, mobilisation of groundwater contaminants and botched community consultation are just the tip of the iceberg.
"The Gloucester project has been plagued with environmental difficulties and community resistance. AGL’s announcement that they are again delaying their final investment decision on Gloucester is welcome relief, but in reality, we expect that in a year’s time, they will pull out of Gloucester too, because the more we learn about coal seam gas, the less sense it makes."