Calls for calm over mining

THE president of Griffith Business Chamber has called for calm after farming groups came out in vehement opposition to any local coal seam gas exploration.

Following news the Ricegrowers' Association and Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board (WGMB) were lobbying the NSW Primary Industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson for critical industry cluster protection, Mr Pittavino has cautioned against alarmism.

Mr Pittavino said there was too much scaremongering surrounding the issue and suggested locals give greater consideration to the potential economic benefit.

"I've heard a lot of farmer groups jumping up and down but I've never heard of farmers themselves getting upset, even in the Darling Downs I haven't heard anything about farmers going broke or towns going backwards.

"I get the impression there is scaremongering going on but people don't need to be hysterical about this.

"This town has invested millions of dollars on a clean and green image and Chamber wouldn't mind coal seam gas if the clean and green image is maintained."

A spokeswoman from the prospecting company applying to explore the region for coal seam gas, Grainger Energy Pty Ltd, said a significant gas discovery would be good for the town and the energy security of the state.

"The company considers that an economically significant energy discovery in the region would be of major benefit locally and to the state considering the impact of energy costs on households and industry," Emma Montgomery said.

"The applications are only related to petroleum exploration and permit only exploration and not production which necessarily requires an entirely separate application in the event of a significant discovery.

"None of the exploration survey methods intended under the licences if granted, including exploratory drilling, should have any adverse effect on groundwater insofar as they are subject to strict guidelines as to their management and specifically with respect to management of drilling in areas of groundwater.

"Only in the event exploration led to a significant energy resource discovery in a relatively limited part of the large proposed exploration area would the company look to proceed to development of a resource under the relevant legislation."

Locals have seven more days to submit a public submission to the state government in regards to the petroleum exploration application.

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