BY PATRICIA DANIELS
The NSW Government today ruled some country towns and suburbs across NSW ‘no go zones’ for coal seam gas activities.
The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, said that the establishment zones will ensure there is no repeat of exploration licences being granted over residential zones across NSW, as was the case with permission from past governments.
Under a package endorsed by Cabinet, a list of additional regulations will be incorporated into an already highly regulated industry.
Mr O’Farrell said the government has listened to the wider community.
As part of the new regulatory activities, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer will conduct independent reviews of all CSG activities in NSW and the potential impact on water catchments. A two kilometre exclusion zone will be imposed around residential zones to prevent CSG exploration.
In addition, Independent Environmental Authority (EPA) will be the lead regulator of Environmental and Health impacts of CSG activities and will be responsible for compliance and enforcements.
Exclusion zones will apply to critical industry clusters such as viticulture and equine industry.
“This is an on-going example of this government cleaning up the mess of the past government,” Mr O’Farrell said.