Metgasco's office in Johnston Street, Casino.
Metgasco's office in Johnston Street, Casino. Cathy Adams

Reactions mixed to Metgasco pausing exploration

REACTIONS on the streets of Casino to Metgasco's suspension of its Northern Rivers exploration activities were mixed yesterday, with some lamenting a lost opportunity.

One man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the area needed "something to get itself going".

"I don't mind Metgasco doing business here," he said.

"I've also got a mate who works as a sub-contractor for Metgasco and even he's been targeted now by pro- testers - they've got a hold of his home number.

"There might be environmental issues, so I'm ready to be proved wrong."

Casino-born Claire Saunders, 72, said there were many people in the town who were up in arms about Metgasco's decision.

"If it is all done properly, why shouldn't it be OK?" she asked.

"I've lived here all my life and this is the first time anything like this has happened. Some of the protesting has been absolutely scandalous."

Others were celebrating the decision, particularly in Lismore where the mood was decisively against the prospect of CSG.

But while 87% of Lismore has voted no to CSG, Richmond Valley Shire has had no such referendum.

Richmond Valley mayor Ernie Bennett said the decision would cost the town a key advantage - cheaper energy in its quest to become an industrial centre.

In a statement on CSG released late last year, the council called for immediate baseline water and air assessments but committed itself to working with Metgasco.