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An overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
by Elfian Schieren, 2012

1. Introduction
2. Energy and coal seam gas development
2.1 Economic viability underpinning coal seam gas development
2.2 Renewable, sustainable energy development
- Solar
- Wind
- Biogas
2.3 Coal seam gas development at a global scale
2.4 Coal seam gas development in Australia
3 Coal seam gas extraction process
- Drilling and dewatering
- Hydraulic Fracturing
- Produced Water
4 Risks to water resources from coal seam gas development
4.4 Ground water use
4.5 Water produced by coal seam gas
4.6 Contamination of Groundwater
5 Other Consequences of coal seam gas development
5.4 Impacts to agricultural production
5.5 Health impacts on humans and animals
5.6 Impacts on greenhouse gas emissions
5.7 Impacts on seismic activity
5.8 Economic impacts
5.9 Cumulative impacts
6 Potential for coal seam gas development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
6.1 Northern Rivers Region
6.2 Using trade-offs and opportunity costs in evaluating CSG development
6.3 Prospects for development in Northern Rivers region
6.4 Energy development in Northern Rivers region
6.5 Northern Rivers community actions and groups in response to CSG development
7 Discussion
8 Conclusion
9 References

PDF file

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MP Kevin Humphries is the new Natural Resources Minister

Kevin John Humphries is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Barwon for the Nationals since 24 March 2007.
He was the Minister for Healthy Lifestyles, Mental Health and Minister for Western New South Wales in the O'Farrell/Stoner Liberal/National coalition from April 2011.
On 23rd April 2014, Kevin Humphries became the NSW Natural Resources Minister.
Deputy Premier's department said Mr Stoner had hand-picked Mr Humphries for the role because of his familiarity with northern and north-western NSW farmers and the contentious issue of coal seam gas exploration.

He said the role was handed over with a "specific brief to look at protecting land and water resources"

Let's check his record on coal seam gas and fracking ...

Barwon Media Release: CGS: No means no

01 Apr 2014 Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries has welcomed a raft of measures announced by the NSW Government to further strengthen the strict controls around coal seam gas exploration and production in the state.

“The Liberals and Nationals Government has placed a freeze on the processing of all new Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) applications and renewals,” Mr Humphries said.

“We have not issued one new licence and are now beginning the process of cracking down on those operators which have not met the conditions of their licences.”

Mr Humphries said the government had already refused five PEL applications in the Riverina and have issued a ‘Show Cause’ notice to Leichhardt resources to explain why its PEL between Narrabri and Moree, across Nowra or between Bylong and Denman should not be cancelled.

“As I have constantly said, we are listened to the community’s concerns and will continue to work to ensure we have the best and strictest regulations in place for the CSG industry.”

“You will see more action taken to make sure community concerns are addressed.”

Additionally, with the support of the new Minister for Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, Mr Humphries said landholder and industry peak bodies had now committed to enshrining access agreements.

The Agreed Principles of Land Access (the Principles) was signed on Friday, 28 March by landholder representatives NSW Farmers Association, Cotton Australia and the NSW Irrigators Council, and gas companies Santos and AGL at a signing ceremony at NSW Parliament House. (attached)

Mr Humphries said the agreed principles relate to CSG projects in NSW and specifically cover access to private agricultural landholder’s property for CSG exploration and production drilling operations.

“It is an agreement based on the values of respect, integrity and trust,” Mr Humphries said.

“I applaud the landholder representatives for their leadership and commitment to their communities.

“The signatories to the Principles formally recognise the rights of landholders across the State to have a voice in what happens on their property.

“Landholders can now deal with these companies with confidence and comfort.

“The Principles show that there are reputable, professional and capable companies that can responsibly develop natural gas resources in NSW whilst recognising the importance of respecting, communicating and working with communities.”

All parties have agreed to the following principles:

• Any Landholder must be allowed to freely express their views on the type of operations that should or should not take place on their land without criticism, pressure, harassment or intimidation. Any Landholder is at liberty to say “yes” or “no” to the conduct of operation on their land;

• Gas companies confirm that they will respect the Landholder’s wishes and not enter onto a Landholder’s property to conduct operations where that Landholder has clearly expressed the view that operations on their property would be unwelcome; and

• The parties will uphold the Landholder’s decision to allow access for operations and do not support attempts by third party groups to interfere with any agreed operations. The parties condemn bullying, harassment and intimidation by third party groups and individuals in relation to drilling operations.

“NSW needs to responsibly develop its natural gas resources for the prosperity of this and future generations, and the signing of the Principles demonstrates that landholders and operators can co-exist in a mutually beneficial and respectful way,” he said.

“No does mean no, landholders do have the right to refuse access to any extractive industry and this rule will be upheld.”

“The pause button has been placed on the industry as we continue to address both the challenges and opportunities of an emerging industry.”

“We have listened.”

Under the former Labor/Green government there were no rules around the former industry – we have gone all the way back to the drawing board since we came into government and progress is being made.

“We are committed to protecting western communities from the type of shonky operators approved by the former Labor Government.”

Media contact: Georgina Poole (02) 6752 5002


NSW freezes CSG exploration applications

26 Mar, 2014 THE NSW government has clamped down on dodgy gas companies and the lax licensing system, in response to community concern over the industry's rapid expansion.

Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts has frozen all new Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications for a period of six months.

In the interim, the government will conduct an audit of the new and existing applications and the approval system.

Licence holders will be asked to justify why their licence shouldn't be cancelled.

Application fees have also been raised from $1000 to $50,000.

"It is clear that the exploration application process under the former Labor government was not up to scratch," Mr Roberts said.

Barwon MP Kevin Humphries said the application freeze and licence audit would weed out "the speculative companies, what I would call two dollar companies".

"We need a diverse economy in our rural areas and traditionally mining, and now gas are going to deliver that," he said.

"This is about making sure the proper process is in place."

Coal seam gas blowing up Coalition

Undated - Desperate National Party members have broken ranks on coal seam gas only to be reigned in by their Liberal colleague, with Resources Minister Chris Hartcher slapping down the Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries today after Humphries promised an announcement that coal seam gas pilot production would be halted.

Greens Mining Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said Nationals MP Kevin Humphries was on the right track in defending rural communities from the threat of coal seam gas and should not tolerate being reigned in by his Liberal colleague Chris Hartcher who said there would be no change to coal seam gas policy.

"This is a massive rebuke for the National Party and the Coalition is in complete disarray on coal seam gas," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"If Kevin Humphries can't deliver on the pending announcement he promised this morning, then he will have lost the confidence of the people of Barwon and Western NSW.

"Labor's reversal on coal seam gas policy has left the government exposed out on a political limb. Nervous Nationals are now starting to break ranks, while the pro-industry Liberal Minister attempts to reign them in.


The farmer wants a life: minister urges lockout over coal seam gas

September 18, 2012 THE Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, has encouraged a group of farmers to continue to ''lock the gate'' to prevent coal seam gas companies entering their land just days after a cabinet decision on new rules to balance the interests of miners and farmers.

Mr Humphries, who is the member for Barwon, flew to Moree last Thursday to meet a local farmer and anti-coal seam gas activist, Penny Blatchford.

Ms Blatchford owns 7000 hectares at Gurley and Bellata, between Moree and Narrabri, covered by an exploration licence for Leichhardt Resources, which wants to look for coal seam gas.


Kevin Humphries responds to Bellata's coal seam gas worries

7 June, 2011 Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries says he is pushing for a halt to all gas exploratory licenses until the State government gets it's new legislation in place.

 Doug Cush is a local farmer and business man and he organised the meeting, we spoke to him on the Morning Show:

He says the meeting passed a private members bill calling for a moratorium on new gas exploration to be extended to all owners of properties in NSW who have highly productive agricultural land, with a view to creating exclusion zones.

"The real concern is that once they enter our area, the law's on their side and we can't repel them," he says.

Mr Cush says the local member made no commitment to take the members bill to the government, raising concerns over his stance on the issue.

"Kevin's for progress, he's pro gas," says Mr Cush.

Kevin Humphries questioned the value of the meeting.

"That meeting on Sunday I'm not sure what it really achieved," he says.

"I think it was designed to scare people more than inform people."

Mr Humphries acknowledges it is a very emotive issue. He's toured Queensland looking at the mistakes and opportunities of the gas exploration in that State, and says NSW now has the chance to "get it right."

"My view is on coal seam gas is very clear. There are some places coal seam gas [mining] can go,and they would be places where they are not disadvantaging agriculture," he says.

Mr Humphries says unfortunately the information available to people is not good enough. The Government has put a moratorium on new exploratory licenses and is reviewing existing ones.

You can hear both interviews here.



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