Sean Nicholls

Sean Nicholls

Sean Nicholls is the State Political Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Metgasco slams decision to suspend drilling licence

Sean Nicholls Embattled resources company Metgasco has launched a furious broadside at the state government, questioning the legality of suspending its northern NSW drilling licence and slamming Energy Minister...

Six-month freeze on NSW coal seam gas exploration licences

Coal Seam Gas.

Sean Nicholls The NSW government has announced a six-month freeze on processing new applications for coal-seam gas exploration licences, while the cost of applying will soar from $1000 to $50,000, in the latest...

Livestock watered from polluted aquifer


Sean Nicholls, Nicole Hasham The NSW environment regulator has revealed water for livestock is being extracted from an aquifer at a point less than five kilometres from where it was contaminated by a controversial coal seam gas...

EPA defends its actions over 'natural' uranium in contaminated aquifer


Sean Nicholls The Environment Protection Authority took almost a year to issue a $1500 fine to energy company Santos over contamination of an aquifer near a major coal seam gas project, which included uranium at a...

Santos coal seam gas project contaminates aquifer

Farmers Ted and Julia Borowski

Sean Nicholls A coal seam gas project operated by energy company Santos in north-western NSW has contaminated a nearby aquifer, with uranium at levels 20 times higher than safe drinking water guidelines, an...

Amateurs to resume hunting in state forests - with GPS devices


Sean Nicholls Amateur hunters will be allowed back into about 200 state forests from next month after the NSW government announced it would restart the controversial program with extra safety measures, including...

Chris Hartcher announces coal seam gas ban in Sydney catchment

Coal seam gas

Sean Nicholls Coal seam gas exploration and mining in the Sydney drinking water catchment areas have been placed on ''immediate hold'' pending an investigation by NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane.

Minister makes start on opening state forests to amateur hunters


Sean Nicholls Hundreds of state forests are set to be reopened to amateur hunters as early as mid-November after Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson began the redeclaration process.

Changes to land-clearing laws alarm green groups

Sean Nicholls, Peter Hannam Environmental laws that determine how farmers can clear their land of native vegetation will be overhauled by the state government, an announcement that has alarmed conservation groups.

Forestry industry backs call for logging in national parks


Sean Nicholls, Peter Hannam The forestry industry has accused the state government of failing to meet its commitments to timber supply and backed the recommendation of a parliamentary inquiry that national parks be opened up...

Logging looms in national parks


Sean Nicholls Logging would be allowed in NSW national parks and a freeze imposed on the declaration of new conservation areas under recommendations of a state parliamentary inquiry.

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Bans lifted on fishing in sanctuaries

Katrina Hodgkinson

Sean Nicholls, Ben Cubby Every marine park in NSW will be reviewed, and bans on recreational fishing lifted in most marine sanctuaries, under major changes to environment laws announced by the state government.

Sean Nicholls

Ignoring concerns has led to a shambles

High pressure gas pipeline warning sign.

Sean Nicholls Five months ago the NSW government declared it had finally solved the vexed issue of coal seam gas in the state.

Dead in the water: O'Farrell buries coal seam gas plans

Barry OFarrell

Sean Nicholls THE NSW government has caved in to community and political pressure over coal seam gas, announcing a ban on all activity within two kilometres of residential areas and industry clusters, such as...

Burke intended to approve coal mine before hoax

Environment minister Tony Burke at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 6 February 2013 Photo: Andrew Meares

Sean Nicholls The federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, flagged his intention to approve the controversial Maules Creek coal mine before Christmas, only weeks before it was the subject of a hoax media release...

AGL suspends coal seam gas wells application

CSG well.

Paddy Manning, Sean Nicholls and Ben Cubby AGL Energy has put its application to develop 66 coal seam gas wells in western Sydney on hold, after encountering strong community opposition and hostility from the federal Government.

Wind farms to pay fee and will be regulated for noise

wind farms

Sean Nicholls, Ben Cubby LARGE wind farms will be licensed and their noise emissions regulated by the Environment Protection Authority under a plan to treat them as potential polluters like other industries.

Electricity profits up $100m, but users switch off

The Auditor General, Mr Peter Achterstraat

Sean Nicholls THE profits of electricity companies increased by $100 million in the past financial year and power bills are rising despite consumers using less electricity, an audit of state-owned energy companies...

Entire state up for grabs in coal seam gas and mining rules

Coal fracking

Sean Nicholls FARMERS, environmental groups and miners have joined forces to condemn the state government's new regime for how coal seam gas drilling and coal mining may be carried out in NSW.

Premier's park hunting backdown the price of power sale

Barry O'Farrell

Sean Nicholls National parks in NSW will be opened up to recreational hunters as part of a deal between the Shooters and Fishers Party and the government to ensure passage of its electricity privatisation bill.