A peaceful protestor has today attached himself to a bull-dozer being used by Metgasco to build a new coal seam gas wastewater holding pond near Casino in northern NSW. He is being supported by 50 people from the region who have gathered at the site.
Lismore resident Davey Bob Ramsay, whose family has lived in the Northern Rivers region for 4 generations, locked himself to the machine at dawn this morning to highlight the threats posed by CSG wastewater to land and water in the Richmond Valley.
“We're here because the NSW Government promised to ban evaporation ponds 12 months ago but today Metgasco are building an open wastewater pond on the edge of the Casino floodplain,” said Boudicca Cerese, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance Northern Rivers.
“This action today exposes the promises by the NSW Government as a sham that were designed to hoodwink the public into thinking they were putting tougher constraints on coal seam gas wastewater management.
"This pond is located in the catchment of Shannon Brook Creek which runs into sensitive wetland areas.
“It seems that Metgasco has been allowed to build these ponds because they have called them 'temporary holding ponds' rather than 'evaporation ponds'.
"That is a misnomer in more ways than one – the pond is approved to operate for five years and it functions like an evaporation pond and has exactly the same risks, including pond overflow, liner failure and seepage into alluvial aquifers.
“Wastewater management of coal seam gas in the Casino area is a shambles and the NSW Government has done nothing to fix it.
"We don't take this action lightly but we can't stand by while our Governments fail us and we see our floodplains, wetlands and farmlands threatened. Casino is the beef capital of Australia and we don't want that put at risk by coal seam gas.
“We are calling on the O’Farrell government to impose a proper ban on open CSG wastewater ponds and to prevent any further construction of this pond," she said.