The enormous, community-driven blockade at Bentley in northern New South Wales, near Lismore, erupted in celebration as news spread that the NSW Government, through the Office of Coal Seam Gas had suspended the drilling license of petroleum company Metgasco, meaning the months-long blockade that at one point was threatened with action from the Police Riot Squad was ultimately successful.
The company’s license to conduct exploratory drilling for gas in the area was ultimately cancelled due to a failure to undertake genuine community consultation, which is a mandatory requirement of the license. In addition to the cancellation, NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts has announced that he has referred the approval process that gave the green light to the well in the first place to the Independent Commission Against Corruption for further investigation.
The tight knit, community focused blockade, a peaceful gathering of people that at times had a vibe akin to that of Burning Man, reacted with disbelief, followed by jubilant celebration. Many of the protesters had been living on-site for several months.
The decision represents an enormous win for the protest movement, as well as positive steps towards stamping out corruption, and protecting vital ecological regions against needless destruction in the race for new sources of the planet’s finite natural resources.
Photo: Chris Hyde via Getty Images.