No Coal Seam Gas Mining In Sydney spokesperson Jactinta Green applied for documents under Freedom of Information laws ( called the Government Information (Public Access) Act) relating to the NSW drilling license approval process for coal seam gas, .

The documents she obtained showed that the NSW Department of Primary Industries was "uncertain" about environmental impacts of coal seam gas drilling in St Peters when it approved an application by Macquarie Energy, now a subsidiary of Australian multinational Dart Energy.

The drilling licence approval process relied on a department officer rating risks to the community and environment as high, medium, low or uncertain. These ratings depended on the company’s own assessment without any on site investigation.

According to the department’s St Peter approval document, dated March 2010, the drilling operation could intersect with the Botany aquifer which lies under the site. The department officer accepted the company’s claim that the drill will be "solid cased" but was "uncertain" about whether the environment could withstand the impacts, whether they could be reversed or whether the drilling complies with water standards.

Although no further studies were recommended, the officer found impacts could be "fully" mitigated.

No wonder the community is alarmed !

You can read the full story on New Matilda here.

( I have previously written ( with Nicole Gooch) about Dart Energy's drilling operations here and here.)