Posted: June 13, 2012 by lesg2n in Music, Rural Events, Social Issues

By Les White


FARMERS and locals are angry coal seam gas exploration is to occur on prime Victorian farm land.

Energy giant ExxonMobil has announced it purchased a 10 per cent interest in the Gippsland CSG exploration licence held by Ignite Energy and intends to explore for CSG.

The exploration licence held by Ignite runs along the Gippsland coast fromWilson’s Promontory to Lakes Entrance and as far inland as Traralgon andRosedale.

The companies plan to put six exploratory wells into the ground.

Victorian Farmers Federation Bairnsdale branch president Rob Grant condemned the plans.

“Prime farmland should be exempt from CSG mining,” Mr Grant said.

He argued local aquifers – underground water reserves – were connected and pollution at one site would pollute groundwater for hundreds of kilometres, devastating farming and the environment.

He was also concerned the mining company could begin buying farms on which it intended to mine, in an attempt to reduce community opposition to any CSG project.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Cam Walker says coal seam gas could damage farmland and water resources.

Friends of the Earth spokesman Cam Walker said the involvement of ExxonMobil would likely speed up the exploration process by providing a financial “shot in the arm” for the project.“ExxonMobil’s entry to the CSG sector should be ringing alarm bells for anyone concerned about the spread of this industry to Victoria. It brings the likelihood of a commercial scale unconventional gas industry a lot closer – with all the impacts on land, agriculture and water that will come with it.”

Community Over Mining spokeswoman Tracey Anton said locals did not want CSG mining in Gippsland.

Former WIN TV political correspondent Rob Herrick said the issue was a tricky one for rural politicians.

Farmers remained angry at the prospect of CSG mining, he said.

Former WIN TV political editor Rob Herrick says farmers remain wary of coal seam gas operations while the issue is a difficult one for the Nationals.

The Victorian Government this week signed up to the national partnership agreement on CSG, although the partnership requires no binding commitments.

Ignite did not respond to request for comment.


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