The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) recently rejected the application for an extension of time to allow Apex Energy’s 16 CSG well project in and around the Woronora and Upper Nepean catchments to go ahead – effectively freezing the CSG exploration project in the Illawarra.
We think that both the PAC committee and the Sydney Catchment Authority (who provided strongly worded opposition in their submission to the PAC) should be applauded for making the right decision in a very challenging and pressured political climate.
The decision was taken despite the NSW Department of Planning recommending the project go ahead. We note the committee took proper account of;
- The growing body of independent scientific evidence on various environmental risks posed by production CSG mining, including drinking water supplies.
- The views of the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA).
- The widespread local community opposition to this planned industrialisation of the Sydney Water Catchment Special Areas.
- Vagaries and inadequacies in the current CSG approval and monitoring process, especially in regard to the consideration of production effects.
We have written to thank both the PAC and the SCA, and asked them to continue exerting pressure on the NSW Government to extend its legislation on CSG protection zones to include Sydney Water Catchment Special Areas and other drinking water catchments.