Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gas Wars enter end game?

On Friday in Maules Creek - Jonathon Moylan to go to trial in November. I referred to the environmental wars that have raged across New England in recent years. Now the associated coal gas wars appear to be entering their end game phase.

Just to summarise the history. The attractions of coal seam gas led to extensive exploration and to consequent opposition from environmental, farm and local community groups concerned about the impact on the immediate environment and especially the practice of fracking. In turn, this led the Commonwealth and NSW State Governments to introduce controls and new assessment procedures. The immediate practical effect was to effectively remove NSW from the emerging gas sector, at least for the short term

Coal seam gas is big business. Removal of NSW from the equation altered the dynamics of the industry elsewhere. Further, a potential gas shortage emerged in NSW. This created the risk of action at Commonwealth level and left the Sydney Government scrabbling a little to try to find a path that might allow development while meeting or at least muting environment concerns.

My judgement is that development will proceed. The environment and local concerns are just not  important enough in the evolving political landscape to stop the process, although they will have an effect at the margin. 

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