Rule out Anderson from land, water
commissioner’s job – CSG activists
COAL seam gas (CSG) activists have called on the State Government to rule out former federal Nationals leader and deputy prime minister, John Anderson, from filling the role of New South Wales land and water commissioner.
“Rumours have been circulating over the last few days that the O’Farrell government has been considering the former chairman of Eastern Star Gas (Mr Anderson) who controlled exploration licences in the Gunnedah area and Pilliga Forest before selling to Santos in late 2011,” Lock the Gate president, Drew Hutton, says in a statement.
“According to NSW Nationals leader, Andrew Stoner, the commissioner is supposed to oversee the regulation of invasive exploration activity on strategic regional land.
“However, as chairman of Eastern Star Gas, Mr Anderson oversaw more than 20 environmental and safety incidents in the Pilliga Forest that has polluted creeks and killed trees.
“Earlier this year Santos reported, following an internal investigation, ‘an unacceptable culture in Eastern Star of accepting minor spills, failures in reporting and the possibility of unapproved land clearing on some sites’,” says Mr Hutton.
“To appoint John Anderson would be an acceptance by the O’Farrell government of this unacceptable culture in the CSG gas industry.
“A political appointment such as this will only exacerbate community concerns about the intention of the O’Farrell government to strengthen CSG regulations in NSW -- it is completely unacceptable.
“I have witnessed the appointment and operation of the Queensland gas commissioner,” says Mr Hutton.
“The NSW Government must ensure the person chosen is truly independent and has the confidence of the community.
“John Anderson is widely regarded to have run roughshod over the community and disregarded the potential impact of Easter Star Gas’s production plans and pipelines on the important agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains and New England areas,” Mr Hutton says.