Council resolves to call for an urgent halt to seismic blasting

The area in question that has been given permission for seismic blasts off Lake Munmorah on the Central CoastThe area in question that has been given permission for seismic blasts off Lake Munmorah on the Central Coast

Representations will be made by Central Coast Council to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Mr Josh Frydenberg, about the permission granted to Asset Energy to conduct underwater seismic blasts to search for coal and gas, 10 nautical miles off Norah Head.

A motion put by Clr Greg Best and seconded by Clr Rebecca Gale Collins, was adopted unanimously. The motion read: “Council notes with great concern that Asset Energy, a subsidiary of Advent Energy, has recently been granted government approval to commence oil and gas exploration only 10 nautical miles east of Norah Head,” Clr Best said. “They will be using controversial seismic blasting, commencing March 15 through to May 30, delivering thousands of seismic blasts to the seafloor,” he said.

Council resolved to strongly support its local community in calling for an urgent halt to any such questionable exploration due to the chronic lack of public consultation and the real prospect of significant environmental damage. The Acting Council CEO, Mr Brian Glendenning, will report to open council on the outcome and any undertakings arising from the representations to Mr Frydenberg. Newcastle and Port Stephens Councils were understood to be taking similar steps. The report back to the council will also include full details of the ocean oil and gas mining proposal. Former Wyong Councillor, Mr Adam Troy, addressed the Council to support the motion. “I don’t know if many people are aware of the potential danger this energy exploration presents to the people of the Central Coast and the way we live our lives,” Mr Troy said. “If this happens, it is right in the middle of the whale migration period, and I don’t believe any thought has been given to this,” he said. “I think the community would be outraged to know that the whale migration may be greatly affected and our potential future way of life may be affected.

“I would be horrified to know there were gas and oil being mined right off our beaches and this can’t go unchanged,” he said. Ms Nicki Freeburn, from the Whale Dreamers Festival, also addressed the meeting. “The EPBC database identified 36 listed threatened species of whales, 23 of which are likely to occur in the survey area, 42 migratory species and again, 23 of which are likely to exist in the survey area, a huge impact,” she said. “We also need to look at the totality of this proposal, as this is only just the exploration site.”

Source: Agenda item 5.1, Feb 26 Meeting notes, Feb 26 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting

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