THEY heard the good news earlier this week and could hardly contain their joy.
On Wednesday the Southern Downs Protection Group celebrated the decision by mining company Arrow Energy to hand back a state-issued permit allowing it to explore for coal seam gas on the Southern Downs.
Southern Downs Protection Group president Dawn Heath said the area covered by the exploration permit stretched from Allora east to Lake Moogerah and south to the New South Wales border.
"It's hot off the press. We only found out on Wednesday," she said.
"We had a meeting Wednesday evening and the feeling in the room was really happy so we want to share the good news.
"My property was included under the permit so from a personal perspective I'm ecstatic and I'm elated for the region as well.
"It means currently for that part of our shire there is no coal seam gas exploration looming over our heads."
An Arrow Energy spokesman said the decision to relinquish the permits was a routine part of the company's procedures. He said there were not significant gas reserves in the region. But Ms Heath said it was a victory for the people.
"We are not anti-mining but we strongly feel the Southern Downs is an inappropriate area,' she said.
"The decision is a small victory for people power and we firmly believe the protection group has played a part in it.
"It will be a confidence boost for people to see a big company backing down."