120 farmers and community members from across the NSW North West spent this morning protesting Santos coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga, travelling to the site from Bellata, Coonamble, Spring Plain, Wee Waa, Coonabarrabran, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Mullaley, Tambar Spring, Narrabri, Edgeroi and more.
The group participated in protests at the site of a coal seam gas waste water pipeline laying operation, and a blockade of the access road to a coal seam gas drill rig, disrupting Santos' activities for hours.
The attached photos taken on a farmer's mobile phone. Two police visited the site of the protests but no arrests were made.
Tambar Springs farmer David Quince was on site and said, "It was tremendous to see the huge numbers of farmers in the Pilliga today, turning up to demonstrate the strong and widespread local opposition Santos coal seam gas fields spreading across the North West.
"The Santos workers abandoned the site of the coal seam gas water pipeline laying operations when they knew there were 120 locals on their way to protest.
"Santos should abandon their plans for the Narrabri Gas Project and any other projects all together."
Spring Plain farmer Kim Revell joined the swelling numbers, concerned about encroachment of gasfields onto farmland and damage to the groundwater aquifers that support communities across the north west of the state.
Ms Revell said, “The water under the Pilliga, recharged in this forest, supports the entire region, and that’s why people have come from across the region to risk arrest to stop Santos from drilling into the Pilliga again.”
“I’m representing my fellow Spring Plains farmers, my neighbours and family here today, who have clearly said we do not want the encroachment of coal seam gas fields onto farmlands or across our water supplies.
Edgeroi farmer Geoff O'Neill participated in his first protest in the Pilliga today. "My main concern is the possible damage that coal seam gas poses to the underground water supply. If our groundwater is polluted we are in deep trouble."
The growing numbers of local community members protesting in the Pilliga today comes after seven people were arrested in the Pilliga in recent for blocking Santos' drill rig.