On Monday 20th February, Proactive Investors Australia (and other industry journals) reported that drilling started on a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) well in the Illawarra Coal Measures in the Burragorang region. The well – Apex Burragorang DDH1 – is in the Warragamba catchment. It is being drilled under an agreement between Apex Energy and Ormil Energy (ASX:OMX).
We are horrified to hear that drilling has started. This is step one of a project that risks the drinking water of people supplied by Warragamba Dam.
There is now more than enough evidence that CSG mining brings risk, and the contamination of water and soil in New South Wales and Queensland show the need for an immediate moratorium on all CSG projects and a royal commission into the full impacts of the industry.
74% of people in NSW support a moratorium on CSG mining until more is known about the health and environmental impacts. Just how much clearer does it have to get? It’s an outrage that water resources are at risk and the Government is not stopping it. They’re simply not listening to the people of NSW.
The previous NSW Government approved the new well under the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 454, which Apex controls and Ormil has a 50% interest in. These are the same two companies with an agreement to work PEL 442 and PEL 444 in the Illawarra.
The Illawarra community has – so far – halted the plan to develop a gas field here. But we are concerned that Apex and Ormil have shifted their focus west; to another community, another part of the catchment, and a project they may feel will be subject to less public scrutiny.
At the Stop CSG Illawarra meeting on Sunday Feb 19, it was voted unanimously to assist action taken by Oakdale residents to stop the drilling. Communities need to work together in the face of a state government that still supports a ‘drill now ask questions later’ approach.