Butler slams Nats' zombie PELs view as 'highly hypocritical'

Slay the zombie PELs: Barwon MP Roy Butler slams calls for zombie PELs to be canned in some electorates but not others

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Barwon MP Roy Butler believes it is highly hypocritical to say that zombie PELs belong in some electorates but not others. Photo: File photo

Barwon MP Roy Butler believes it is highly hypocritical to say that zombie PELs belong in some electorates but not others. Photo: File photo

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The Barwon MP's comments come after Nats MP Kevin Anderson stood by his calls to extinguish zombie PELs from his Tamworth electorate.

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SHOOTERS, Fishers and Farmers MP Roy Butler has slammed calls that only some of the state's expired extraction licences should be cancelled.

The Barwon MP, who has several of the expired petroleum exploration licences (PELs) in his electorate, labelled recent calls from Nationals MP Kevin Anderson that the zombie PELs didn't belong in his Tamworth electorate as "highly hypocritical."

"I think it is highly hypocritical to suggest that one electorate in regional NSW should have these things and another shouldn't," Mr Butler told The Land.

"I would like to see all of these PELs totally extinguished because most coal seam gas (CSG) and gas reserves that are based in the coal bed interact with water aquifers and to get to the seams you have to punch holes through the aquifers.

"We have just been through the worst drought in living memory which showed us just how important groundwater is and our regional communities know how important groundwater is.

"It doesn't matter if you're in the Tamworth, Barwon or Northern Tablelands electorates, it's important in each and every one of them."

Read more from our Slay the Zombie PELs campaign:

Mr Butler's comments come after Mr Anderson last week said "there are CSG operations up around Narrabri and that neck of the woods, which is the appropriate place for them" and the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) approved Santos' controversial Narrabri Gas Project last September.

"I stood on the basis of opposing coal seam gas at Narrabri and I maintained that stance of opposition right up to when the IPC approved the Narrabri Gas Project with 136 conditions," Mr Butler said.

"In my opinion, it is politically convenient to say it's alright in one electorate and not another because that doesn't represent the sentiment of people on the ground.

"Within the township of Narrabri, support for the project was about 50-50, but once you got out of town and into places like Gilgandra, Coonabarabran and Coonamble, the opposition to it skyrocketed.

"Coonamble for example, is a hotbed of CSG opposition because during the drought the only place that anyone got water from was under the ground."

Earlier this month NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the future of the zombie PELs would be made clear with the release of the state government's Future of Gas statement.

"I believe we've been able to throw a spanner in the works of the state government's future gas plans by helping landholders in the state's west voice their opposition to these kinds of projects," Mr Butler said.

"The fact I'm not part of the government but I'm also not the opposition means I can take up these issues on behalf of people even if it's not particularly convenient for the government.

"The Nationals opposition to zombie PELs and coal seam gas only seemed to come out once that project was approved. "

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