Thousands march over Sydney CSG exploration

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Thousands of people gathered in Sydney’s inner west yesterday to call on NSW premier Barry O’Farrell to strip coal seam gas miners of their licence to drill.

Organised by the ‘Stop CSG Sydney’ community group, the protestors rallied against the November 2010 decision by the NSW government to grant Dart Energy a CSG exploration licence for drilling close to homes and schools in the suburb of St Peters.

The say they are angry the licence was given without community consultation and a proper risk assessment.

Protestors said CSG mining should be prohibited in the city zone of Sydney until all water, health, and other environmental impacts are known.

After gathering in Camperdown the demonstrators marched down King Street to St Peters, where they formed a human chain in front of homes close to Dart’s proposed exploration sites.

Dart originally intended to start drilling in St Peters after September 2011, but has since revised its targets.

Dart Energy CEO Robbert De Weijer told a public forum late last week the company had no immediate plans for gas exploration in Sydney, but was planning on it in the future.

"[There will be] certainly no drilling for the next two or three years at Saint Peters," he said.

"For the wider Sydney area, we’re not going to be doing any drilling until the second half of next year at the very earliest."

De Weijer said the company was keen to work with the community.

"We are committed to being open and transparent. We have absolutely nothing to hide," he said.

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