Coal seam gas protestors from the Blue Mountains are marshaling their forces with two anti-CSG protests planned over the next two months.
The move comes after Fairfax Media reported last week that fracking was back on the table for western Sydney after the coal seam gas company AGL reversed its pledge not to use the controversial drilling technique linked to water pollution.
Jan O’Leary from Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains said a forum would be held on Sunday March 24 at the Springwood Civic Centre, starting at 2 pm.
“AGL’s turnaround was only a matter of time,” Ms O’Leary said. “Fracturing the rock with a cocktail of toxic chemicals enormously facilitates the drilling process. It is simply impractical and uneconomic for mining companies wanting to maximise their profits not to frack.”
Another larger forum, for all of western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, will be held in Liverpool on February 13 when NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell will be speaking at a Liverpool Chamber of Commerce function.
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said “coal seam gas companies have been caught in a lie, they will frack both horizontal and vertical wells which they previously denied they would do”.
“Coal seam gas and fracking is inevitable, risky and completely inappropriate in urban areas and our drinking water catchments,” he said.
“Barry O’Farrell must rule out coal seam gas in NSW and put the health of communities and our environment before the short term profits of a few greedy gas companies.”
Nature Conservation Council spokesman Pepe Clarke said fracking “poses unacceptable risks to human health and the environment”.
“Time and again resource extraction companies modify and expand their proposals, leaving the community with increased environmental, community and health impacts,” Mr Clarke said.
Ms O’Leary said she hoped for a large community response to the forums.
“We will also ask (Blue Mountains MP) Roza Sage if she will be joining fellow Liberal and Mayor, Daniel Myles, and other councillors who promised to ‘man the barricades’ should the need arise.”
Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains believes Glenbrook Park is a prime candidate for CSG — “it’s a nice big open area and nothing could stop them,” Ms O’Leary said.
AGL, which has the rights to exploration in the Lower Blue Mountains, insists it has no plans to do so.