MOREE Plains Shire Council is standing by its moratorium on coal seam gas exploration even as speculators continue to size up the area’s potential.
Trough Exploration, a pop-up company with just $24 in share capital, is the latest outfit to test the council’s resolve over the controversial industry.
The company is attempting to secure the rights to carry out desktop studies and low-impact scientific inquiries, such as analysing soil samples on public land.
The target area spans 1500sq km of land west of the Warialda and Bingara townships and juts up against the Moree shire’s boundary.
The council wrote to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) once it became aware of the application to express its continued opposition to the industry.
It said that coal seam gas development “will not be supported in the absence of evidence which proves that CSG will not impact on agriculture or our groundwater resources”.
Earlier this month, NSW Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie and OCSG staff travelled to Moree to brief the council on Trough Exploration’s application.
Councillors aired concerns about a lack of community consultation when such applications were lodged with the state government.
The commissioner was also told the council was disappointed about the lack of clarity over potential environmental and agricultural impacts from CSG activities.
Moree councillors voted unanimously in 2011 not to offer any support to exploration companies as it was “unwilling to jeopardise the long-term future of local agricultural land for the short-term benefits of coal seam gas”.