The state government has refused a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) exploration licence (PELA 158) lodged by CEEMAC Pty Ltd to investigate parts of the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains.
The application was one of three refused by the state government’s office of CSG last week.
If approved, areas affected would have included Bilpin, Berambing, Mountain Lagoon and Kurrajong Heights.
Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts said the OCSG refused the applications because ‘‘CEEMAC has not provided satisfactory evidence of matters required to be provided under the Act’’.
The refusal was a relief particularly residents in the areas that would have been covered by the exploration.
One of them was Bilpin resident Tessa McLaughlin who said: ‘‘It’s a great result that protects this World Heritage area for now and future generations.’’
Hawkesbury Environmental Network (HEN) were relieved their three-year battle against the threat had paid off.
‘‘We have kept the community informed and let our politicians know the Hawkesbury can’t afford to lose its clean and green qualities and its unique farming, environmental and tourism values,’’ HEN’s Jocelyn Howden said.
‘‘We have been collecting petition signatures from concerned residents and visitors across the region since June.
‘‘This is a massive victory.’’
It was only two weeks ago that the region saw its biggest turnout for a CSG forum, with 120 in attendance at Kurrajong Public School hall.
Mayor Kim Ford also welcomed the state government’s decision.
‘‘This is a practical example of Australia’s toughest CSG regulations working for local communities,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m pleased council’s policy on CSG is also working.’’
HEN recalled a letter they received from Macquarie MP Louise Markus, where she reiterated her opposition to CSG mining in the electorate.
‘‘I’m already on record stating my view that CSG has no place in this region,’’ she wrote.
At the March 24 council meeting, majority of councillors expressed their concern of CEEMAC’s application and a submission was lodged against the licence and the threat of further mining in the future.
At the time, deputy mayor Tiffany Tree said you don’t have to have a science degree to see how catastrophic it would be.
‘‘It would absolutely destroy the Hawkesbury as we know it,’’ she said.