The Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, is due to make a decision on plans by Santos for 6,100 new CSG wells in Queensland, this Friday February 26. The project is known as the GLNG Gas Field Development Expansion, and will extend across almost one million hectares of land.
Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on Minister Hunt to reject the project, stating that the damage to the Great Artesian Basin, a nationally significant water resource, should be sufficient for him to knock it back.
The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (the IESC) has advised that there is considerable scientific uncertainty about potential impacts on surface and groundwater from the project, including impacts such as:
- Reduced water supply to important springs of the Great Artesian Basin
- Cumulative impacts on groundwater pressures
- Impacts from wastewater discharge into the Dawson River
- Changes to groundwater and surface water quality
“The Santos plan for 6,100 new CSG wells in Queensland is a recipe for disaster for the Great Artesian Basin and for landholders who depend on it,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson, Carmel Flint.
“The Environmental Impact Statement for the project predicts that it will impact on 73 water bores used by landholders in the area, and will extract 219 billion litres of water over the life of the project and produce 22 billion litres of salty brine as waste.
“Santos still has no meaningful plan to deal with the vast quantities of salty waste that the project will produce.
“Our water resources are far too important to be put at risk for a short-term, economically dubious industry like CSG.
“The people of Qld are sick and tired of CSG companies riding roughshod over farmers and communities, and putting long-term water supplies and food production under threat.
“The Federal Environment Minister needs to finally heed the advice of his experts and put the protection of the Great Artesian Basin before the greed of the CSG industry. Greg Hunt should reject this risky project.”
The deadline for approval by the February 26 arose after an extension granted on December 22, 2015.