Court appeal outcome backing Santos CSG wastewater plant goes against Narrabri community group’s wishes

Published: March 14, 2017

  • Community group claims environmental law regarding CSG not strong enough
  • Community vows to continue battle against Santos CSG plans for their region  
  • Still no solution provided for millions of tonnes of CSG salt waste

Narrabri community group People for the Plains says laws need to be strengthened to protect the environment and the community from the impacts of coal seam gas projects, after losing a legal battle against gas giant Santos and the NSW Government.

The group vowed to continue its work to protect groundwater, farmland and local ecosystems from Santos’ proposed Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga forest and its future plans for six further gasfields spreading out across the agricultural country of the region.

The group, represented by public interest environmental lawyers EDO NSW, argued that the project was unlawful because it had been allowed to proceed without an Environmental Impact Statement or public consultation, despite the fact that it will treat up to 1.5 million litres of toxic CSG wastewater each day.

People for the Plains spokesperson Sally Hunter said, “We’re very disappointed with this outcome."

"If the law says that a gas company can build a 500 million litre coal seam gas water treatment plant without doing an Environmental Impact Statement, then we’re afraid the law is not strong enough to protect our community or the environment. This is a large-scale industrial facility in our local environment. Despite this legal outcome, we still believe the local community should have the right to have a say.

"The laws protecting the environment against coal seam gas are not strong enough. The Leewood wastewater storage is connected to the much broader 850 well Narrabri Gas Project proposed by Santos for the Pilliga forest. With the Environmental Impact Statement now on public exhibition, the community will be redoubling its efforts to protect the Narrabri region from dangerous coal seam gas."

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