Angry locals ‘bottling up CSG frustration’

DEBATE: Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson talks with CSG activists at Metgasco’s shopfront.
DEBATE: Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson talks with CSG activists at Metgasco’s shopfront. Doug Eaton

POLICE forcing the anti-CSG protest camp away from Metgasco's test drilling site at Glenugie means there's now no-one on site to "counsel" angry locals, says activist and lecturer in law at Southern Cross University, Aidan Ricketts.

Mr Ricketts said before police broke the blockade on January 7, the camp helped serve as a "de facto counselling service" for those whose anger was at risk of boiling over due to their opposition to CSG drilling in their community.

Mr Ricketts said a man who appeared in Grafton Court this week charged with assaulting a security guard was not part of the organised anti-CSG movement but a local resident opposed to the drilling operation.

Frederick Telford, 59, has been charged with assault, entering a closed land and resisting arrest following an incident at the Glenugie test drilling site involving a policeman on Wednesday night and will appear at Grafton Local Court on February 11.

Mr Ricketts said Metgasco CEO and managing director Peter Henderson had tried to take isolated incidents and depict them as the standard operating procedure of environmental activists.

"The organised movement on the North Coast is committed to non-violence," he said.

Metgasco's Casino shopfront was open for two hours yesterday to answer questions about the CSG industry.

Mr Henderson said it attracted around 20 people from those who were genuinely interested in learning more to those sceptical about the industry.

He said while "we know we're not going to convince everybody", they would continue to answer questions and distribute information about their activities.

Casino residents should expect an information pack from Metgasco before the end of the month.

Topics:  aidan ricketts coal seam gas glenugie blockade metgasco

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