Local councils consider tighter gas control

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Upper hunter shire councillors are today considering a wide-ranging recommendation proposing tighter controls on coalmining and coal seam gas extraction.

A report prepared by council environmental services director Murray James is recommending stricter regulations for the mining industry and the introduction of exclusion zones.

CSG exploration and extraction is the focus of the report, which suggests laws need to be reviewed to ensure the community is involved in mining developments.

The report said the rights of landholders should also be considered regarding industry development and access, compensation, and rehabilitation.

It said the exclusion zones and more “robust” regulation would help protect the region’s thoroughbred industry.

Coal seam gas business leaders have repeatedly assured the community that their developments are environmentally sound, and say their developments have been assessed and approved by State and Federal Governments and are audited on an ongoing basis.

They say the footprint of a CSG well or pipeline is very small and the debate over their development has suffered from misinformation.

Last week Queensland Environment Minister Vicky Darling unveiled a plan to have CSG companies fund the management of state groundwater.

Groundwater is currently managed by the state government, but Darling said it was “only fair” the industry paid for the costs of ensuring environmental protection.

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