Protesters follow Metgasco

Some of the more than 700 people who filled Lismore Workers Club for an anti-CSG meeting last night. Mireille Merlet-Shaw
Some of the more than 700 people who filled Lismore Workers Club for an anti-CSG meeting last night. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

ANTI-COAL seam gas campaigners from the Casino area mobilised yesterday morning to peacefully protest operations of coal seam gas company Metgasco at the Casino airport.

Members of the Richmond Valley Group Against Gas were alerted about 9.30am that Metgasco was undertaking works on its disused South Casino 11 well on the eastern side of the airport.

According to a Metgasco spokesman, the company was undertaking rehabilitation work on the site, as required by law.

But group spokesman Eric van Beurden said the protest was the first in a new approach that will see a protest presence wherever coal seam gas works were happening.

"We have been thinking about what activities we can do peacefully and this is just one of the activities that we can do," Dr van Beurden said.

"So this is a new way of doing things for us.

"We are just local people living here with our families and kids and we are really worried about (coal seam gas), we are really concerned."

The protest included a ceremonial laying down of the protesters' hats in the path of Metgasco machinery as it left the site.

The machinery proceeded, running over and flattening the hats.

"Our hats on the ground was basically us as residents of the Richmond Valley saying that is our livelihood, that is our family, that is our people, that is what we depend on and you are running over it," Dr van Beurden said.

"I think it is a really fantastic metaphor for what we are about."

A Metgasco spokesman said rehabilitation of the site of a disused well was standard practice and a requirement of the company's coal seam gas exploration licence.

The company was yesterday preparing the site prior to cementing of the well, which is expected to occur in the next few weeks.

Topics:  metgasco protesters

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