Di Woods weighs in on CSG

DEPUTY mayor Diane Woods is seeking to halt the upset and anxiety felt by Byron Shire residents from the threat of CSG exploration on their doorstep.

Cr Woods said these concerns hade grown with the news that Dart Energy and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council had acquired exploration licences known as PELs (Petroleum Exploration Licence) which together cover all of Byron Shire.

"Residents have felt that their concerns have not been heard, that they've been fobbed off with statements that there is no threat because there are no coal seams or store of CSG in Byron Shire."

"I am now seeking watertight reassurance for Byron Shire residents by a proposal which I have submitted today for the next council meeting.

"This is a motion that we write to Dart Energy and the Aboriginal Land Council asking that they relinquish their PEL claims on Byron Shire lands. And if for some reason this is not possible, our letter will invite them to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding that the current licence holders will not explore or drill in Byron Shire lands for the life of their licences.

"This would go a long way towards relieving our community concern and anxiety about the impacts of CSG both on our population and on tourism."

"I believe that, on the understanding that none of the coastal lands of Tweed, Byron and Ballina shires contain coal seams or any CSG, this request shouldn't pose a problem for either organisation.

It was a much better idea to sit down and talk directly with Dart and the ALC, aiming for real solutions, certainty and understanding rather than just exchanging empty threats via the media, Cr Woods said.

"And while my central concern is for Byron Shire, I see no reason why Tweed and Ballina Shires should not undertake similar action."

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