THE Northern Rivers will be one of the first regions to undergo a detailed scientific assessment of the impact of coal seam gas mining, including impacts on underground water.
Federal environment minister Tony Burke yesterday released the priority list of the regions to be assessed by the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining.
He said the study would provide better information for decision makers to ensure protection of water resources.
Group Against Gas Kyogle spokeswoman Leah Hobbs said while her group would prefer a ban on all drilling while the scientific studies were conducted to ensure it would not contaminate the region's water, she welcomed the announcement that the Northern Rivers would be one of the first to undergo scientific assessment.
"All mining should be stopped until it is clear it is safe but we welcome the Federal Government's announcement because we live in a pristine area and our water supply is precious," she said.
In November the government announced a new scientific framework and a National Partnerships Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal mining to ensure all future decisions about coal seam gas projects were based on rigorous scientific evidence.
Page MP Janelle Saffin said she had lobbied the minister for the region to be included on the priority list "given the mounting community alarm about CSG".
"There is a groundswell of concern led by residents, landholders and local governments against the exploration and mining of CSG and the impact such activity may have on water resources," she said.
"While mining and water resources come under state powers, I have been pushing the Federal Government to use what limited powers it has to protect the environment and our water."
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