Chief Scientist listens to CSG issues

MANNING Alliance championed the "critical strategic and long term economic value of the Manning Valley" to NSW Chief Scientist, Mary O'Kane at a community meeting about coal seam gas (CSG) development in Taree.

Professor O'Kane heads-up the team that is conducting an independent review of CSG activities across NSW and they attended a community meeting at Club Taree on Monday, September 16 to enable individuals and groups to raise CSG-related issues. Prior to their visit to Taree the team met with local government officials and community groups in Camden, Gloucester and Narrabri.

Manning Alliance, representatives from Greater Taree City Council, MidCoast Water, Manning Clean Water Action Group and Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead attended the meeting with Manning Alliance chairman, Peter Epov describing it as "very productive and focused on mutual respect, a constructive exchange of opinions, and the sharing of important information relevant to the growth of the unconventional coal seam methane gas industry in NSW, with specific emphasis on the Manning and Gloucester Valleys."

"I found Professor O'Kane to be very affable and someone who is genuinely interested and indeed concerned at ensuring that the best possible outcomes are achieved for the people of NSW, and importantly someone that I believe we can work with to effectively communicate legitimate concerns relating to the extractive industries," Mr Epov said.

Mr Epov said that he and Manning Alliance secretary, Kerry Anderson "emphasised the critical strategic and economic long term value of the Manning Valley" and highlighted the possibility that the Manning Valley could serve "as a food bowl for both Sydney and into Asia" due to "our proximity to Sydney, our climate, and our healthy soils and the availability of clean water."

Mr Epov added that they also highlighted the dangers and consequences of AGL's project in Gloucester to the Manning Valley. "We specifically spoke about AGL's failure to present viable options for the disposal of salt and the toxic 'produced water'," Mr Epov said.

"Clearly the community needs to be confident in AGL's methods to annually dispose of 7500 tonnes of contaminated salt and the disposal of up to 2100 megalitres of 'produced' and potentially toxic water. These are AGL's own numbers.

"If AGL intends to dilute produced water on the ratio of one to three then they would have to draw upwards of 6100 megalitres of clean water and dilute this with potentially toxic and salty 'produced water' which would then be dumped into the Avon River which leads into the Manning."

Mr Epov added "The alliance told professor O'Kane that the public had lost confidence in the government's ability to manage the evolution of mining and extractive industries".

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