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CSG hot-button issue in lead-up to election

Kevin Anderson Kevin Anderson.

PROTECTING prime agricultural land from the ravages of the coal seam gas industry appears set to be one of the defining local issues of next year’s election.

Revelations that gas giant Santos is spruiking to investors plans to turn immense tracts of North West NSW into gasfields has sent shockwaves through the region.

The seven coal seam gas “sweet spots” the company holds licences over span the Nationals-held seats of Tamworth, Barwon, Northern Tablelands and Upper Hunter.

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has vowed to fight for the Liverpool Plains’ productive black soils to be permanently quarantined from coal seam gas extraction.

Mr Anderson met recently with his Coalition colleague Anthony Roberts, the resources and energy minister, but did not disclose if he had secured any guarantees.

“The meeting was a good one,” he said.

“The minister listened carefully as I explained the sensitivities around black soil and protecting agricultural land.

“I also met with Santos and discussed the need to protect prime agricultural land and their petroleum licence areas. We are going to meet again in a few weeks to discuss their activities and future plans for the Tamworth electorate. My experience in dealing with Santos in the Tamworth electorate has always been open, and I believe they have operated in good faith and worked in with the community.”

Barwon MP andWater Minister Kevin Humphries is also certain to come under pressure, with Santos looking to target Moree as well as Narrabri for production.

Moree Plains Shire Council has made clear its opposition to the controversial industry and councillor John Tramby said the majority of residents were also opposed to it.

“We, as a council, are steadfastly opposed to CSG extraction, because we’re concerned about protecting the productivity of the most productive agricultural shire in the country and our artesian water,” he said.

Greens candidate Mercurius Goldstein, who will stand against Adam Marshall in the seatof Northern Tablelands,is also vehemently opposed to the industry.

“On CSG, it’s obvious that the Baird government is trying to fool voters in the lead-up to the election,” he said.

“CSG is a dirty and unsustainable industry that places our entire agricultural base at risk. NSW doesn’t need it and Northern Tablelands residents don’t want it.”

NSW Premier Mike Baird told reporters during a visit to Tamworth last week that the mining and gas industry was a “critical part of the economy”.

“We want the appropriate environmental protections in place and community consultation is front and centre of what we do,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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