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Metgasco suspends operations due to community opposition: crunch time for coal seam gas

Today's announcement by coal seam gas company Metgacso that it was suspending its operations in northern New South Wales is a recognition that the Northern Rivers community would not give it a social licence.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said Metgasco was simply recognising that every time it attempted to set up new infrastructure it would be blockaded.

"A simple example of this opposition is that a de facto blockade of Metgasco's drill site at Doubtful Creek, near Kyogle, by to 80 locals has been in existence for the last month, to such an extent that they cannot even get the rig out now that the drilling has finished," Mr Hutton said.

"Metgasco will be the first of the dominos. Many communities have spoken, they don't want coal seam gas and they will oppose it using non-violent action.

Both the New South Wales State Government and the Federal Government have recognised this and are beginning to respond to the pressure from the community.

"Yesterday's announcement of a water trigger in the Commonwealth's environmental legislation could play a significant role in putting many future resource projects under proper scrutiny and do away with the 'open gate' approach to mining developments that all governments have adopted up to now."

Mr Hutton predicted that the AGL and Dart projects in New South Wales as well as the Arrow project in Queensland were now in serious jeopardy.

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