Hundreds of Mountains residents rallied in Glenbrook Park last Saturday, October 13 to protest against drilling rigs appearing on their horizon.
Much of the Lower Mountains is covered by a recently renewed exploration licence for coal seam gas held by AGL.
Speaking at the rally, Ward 2 Councillor Geordie Williamson said he has tabled a motion for the council to oppose any coal seam gas exploration and mining within its boundaries.
Clr Williamson said his family home in rural NSW was now located next to a huge mining operation that posed a serious contamination risk to the aquifers that are the life blood of the area.
“I hope we will be able to save the Blue Mountains from that fate,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill also spoke strongly against coal seam gas mining operations in the Blue Mountains and declared his support for Clr’s Williamson’s motion.
He called on the community to get behind this action, “not only because we need to to protect this world heritage area but because we sit on the edge of Sydney’s water supply”.
Geological scientist Dr Brian Marshall said that the Blue Mountains is right in the thick of a coal belt.
“Wherever there is coal, there is coal seam gas,” said Dr. Marshall. “The risks to us are very real . . . We are definitely sitting on a gas time bomb.”
Dr Marshall cautioned against believing mining companies’ claim that they don’t frack.
“Fracking is an inevitable part of the extraction process,” he said.
NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham spoke about his recent fact-finding visit to the United States. He described the coal seam gas industry in America as the “largest industrialisation in history”.
“What I saw in Texas was tens of thousands of gas wells. From the CBD of Fort Worth, all the way to Canada, the continent of the United States has been pock marked with hundreds of thousands of gas wells.
“Wherever this industry touches the ground, it destroys the environment, it pollutes water, it pollutes the air, it drives the community apart.”
The Glenbrook rally was organised by the newly formed group, Stop Coal Seam Gas Blue Mountains, which emerged from an alliance of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Transition Blue Mountains and Katoomba Climate Action Group.