Farmer blocks Santos coal seam gas drillers: locked onto rig gates

Published: February 20, 2014

Mark Robinson is arrested by police

Update: Coonamble farmer Mark Robinson has been arrested and taken to Narrabri police station for processing after locking himself Santos coal seam gas drill rig gates and delaying drill workers accessing the site for over three hours.

Currently, over 30 North West NSW farmers and community members are rallying in Narrabri against Santos' Pilliga coal seam gas drilling. They are gathering in support of Mark's action in stopping the Santos drill rig access and out of concern over the plans for 850 coal seam gas wells planned for the Santos Narrabri Gas Project.
Earlier this morning, 52 year old farmer Mark Robinson attached himself to entrance gates of a Santos coal seam gas drill rig in the Pilliga forest of North West NSW. The Coonamble Shire dry land farmer locked onto the coal seam gas drilling rig gates just before a driller shift change this morning, preventing a team of drillers from accessing the rig.

Mr Robinson said, “The NSW North West is no place for invasive gasfields that will put our precious groundwater at risk.”

“As a farmer it shocks me that despite knowing the risks to water, our government seems to be blindly rushing ahead to support Santos’ plans to turn the North West food bowl into a massive industrial gasfield.

“Food producers are going to keep on standing up and clearly telling Santos to back off - we are not your next gasfield."

The action comes after seven people were arrested opposing Santos operations in the Pilliga last week, and more than 120 farmers and their families travelled into the Santos drilling operations in the Pilliga, stopping work on site to voice community concerns with the Narrabri Gas Project. 

Santos plans to drill coal seam gas wells right through the recharge aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin, an essential water source for regional and outback Australia.

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