November 23, 2011
Friends of the Earth media release
Minister’s investment in CSG sends worrying message to communities
It was reported yesterday that the Victorian minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, has personal investments in the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry.
He has interests in Molopo, which has five major projects: tight oil exploration in Western Canada and West Texas, a Coal Bed Methane (often known as Coal Seam Gas or CSG) project in Queensland, shale gas exploration in Eastern Canada and two gas projects in South Africa. He also holds interests in Brisbane-based Galilee Energy, which has CSG operations in central Queensland.
“Here in Victoria, a growing number of rural communities are mobilising against potential CSG, new coal and tight gas projects” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “It seems remarkable given the level of public concern about this industry – and the clear environmental issues associated with the industry in Queensland – that an environment minister would hold shares in these companies”.
“Last week residents in Toongabbie organised against a CSG and coal exploration application. There are growing calls for the Victorian Coalition to support a moratorium on further CSG and coal development in the state until there has been a thorough investigation into the likely impacts of this industry on water resources, farmland and food security, local communities and natural biodiversity. Yet the only Coalition ministers who have publically spoken on the issue have refused to endorse a moratorium.”
“So far, Coalition MPs from regional Victoria have been big on sympathy but short on action when it comes to the risk of CSG.”
“For the Minister for Environment and Climate Change to hold shares in this industry sends a clear message about his support for CSG. It is hard to imagine this news would be well received by any of the thousands of rural Victorians worried about the risk of new coal and gas operations in their region.”
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047