The blockade of the Santos coal seam gas project at Spring Ridge on the New South Wales Liverpool Plains has been called off.
Santos has agreed to suspend drilling activities until the completion of the Namoi Catchment Water Study due March 2012. This study will determine the vulnerability of underground and surface water systems.
The blockade was imposed by the Caroona Coal Action Group which is part of the Lock the Gate Alliance.
President of the Lock the Gate Alliance Drew Hutton said this result was a vindication of the whole lock the gate strategy.
"What began as a desperate attempt by Queensland landowners in October 2010 to slow down the rapid expansion of coal and coal seam gas mining across productive farm land has turned into a social movement that has forced governments and resource companies to re-evaulate their activities.
"We have said from day one that the coal seam gas industry should not be given approvals until all social and environmental issues have been properly addressed and, even if governments gave their formal approval, we would withdraw the industry's social licence until the science was in.
"Now all communities need to do the same. I am calling on all community groups associated with the Lock the Gate Alliance to withdraw their cooperation completely from this industry.
"That means a complete refusal by landowners to negotiate access by the companies and to blockade their activities if they attempt to enter communities.
"From Longreach to Margaret River this industry must be brought to a halt to ensure we don't destroy our food bowls, our underground water systems and the health and amenity of rural communities in a mad gas rush.
"If governments won't do this the people will – community by community."