Gas well described as 'breach of trust'

CAMPBELLTOWN Council is not convinced its concerns over a new coal seam gas well drilled by AGL Energy at Menangle Park — close to homes and with little public consultation — have been addressed.

The council's general manager Paul Tosi said it had strongly objected to the mining giant drilling the new well next to the Nepean River, which flows into Warragamba Dam, because of concerns it could pollute the waterway.

The well head is operating beside the Menangle Park Paceway and 350 metres from homes in the suburb, however drilling will extend up to 2.5 kilometres from that site.

Mr Tosi said the council had raised concerns about a lack of public consultation over the plans and encouraged any residents with complaints to contact him.

Stop CSG Sydney Water Catchment spokesman Will D'Arcy feared the new well could become an environmental disaster because it was located in a floodplain.

"It (the well) is only 40 metres from the Nepean River," he said.

Mr D'Arcy said he expected to hear from the NSW Government about its moratorium decision before wells started to appear on "our door step".

Drilling started at the site several weeks ago and noise from the operation was the first residents knew about it, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

He said this was the first coal seam gas operation to be approved by the O'Farrell government and described it as a "breach of trust".

"It's a disgrace that there has been no real consultation with local residents about this coal seam gas well," he said.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission approved AGL's application in June, saying that "given the low likelihood of impacts . . . the proposed modification is in the public interest".

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said AGL would have to adhere to stringent conditions, including maintenance measures to protect ground water.

An AGL spokeswoman said information about the project was available on the company's and government websites and they did a letterbox drop.

"AGL spoke with members of the community on August 23 regarding the drilling program, and has installed noise monitoring equipment," the spokeswoman said.

AGL currently has an application before the government for 72 coal seam gas wells to be drilled locally.

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