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NSW Govt. rejects Riverina coal seam gas licences

An application to explore for coal seam gas deposits in a small portion of the Deniliquin Council area has been denied.

TYLA HARRINGTON March 28, 2014 4:56am

Applications for five petroleum exploration licences in the Riverina, including one in Deniliquin, have been rejected.

The NSW Minister for Energy and Resources Anthony Roberts has denied Grainger Energy’s application to explore for coal seam gas deposits from Wakool to Jerilderie, which takes in Conargo Shire and a small portion of the Deniliquin Council area.

Grainger Energy’s initial request sparked concern with most local councils.

It also prompted the Wagga Wagga City Council to declare a moratorium on CSG exploration on council-owned land earlier this week.

As well as turning down the applications, the NSW Government has issued a six-month freeze on further exploration licence applications.

According to Member for Murrumbidgee Adrian Piccoli, the applicant was only constituted as a company six days before the application was made.

He said the applications were rejected because there were concerns about the financial resources of the company and its ability to undertake exploration.

Grainger Energy director Vaughan Cullen said the rejection was disappointing.

‘‘It (Grainger Energy) is clearly disappointed that a public interest over-riding clause within the act (Section 24A) was invoked,’’ he said.

‘‘Further, it is perplexed by the timing of the refusal notification, as the due date to respond to the public submission is March 31.

‘‘In any event, Grainger advises that it has lodged answers to public submissions today within the legislative timeframe and process.’’

Conargo Shire Norm Brennan commended the government for it’s decision.

‘‘It’s very good,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m also glad there’s going to be a review of the application process.

‘‘The comments that Grainger Energy constituted six days before applying for the licence raises a lot of questions.

‘‘As well as (Grainger) advertising (for submissions) right on Christmas, I’ve had quite a few phone calls from people in the community that are glad this isn’t being rushed.

‘‘The greatest concern was with the groundwater and what might happen with aquifers.’’

Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick said while he was concerned for the region, he said he would keep an open mind on potential future explorations.

‘‘Sometimes it is a way of getting energy but there is concern it (the exploration) could cause problems with the environment and getting into the water tables,’’ he said.

‘‘We didn’t have a lot of concern for Deniliquin because it wasn’t a huge area it was going to affect. We did have concern for the region.

‘‘I don’t think we should ever shut the door completely on any exploration.

‘‘I am concerned but maybe in the future if the company can perfect the exploration then it could be a different outcome.’’

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