Lock the Gate calls for action against coal seam gas polluter

Published: February 23, 2012

The Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on the New South Wales government to take action against the directors of the coal seam gas company, Eastern Star Gas, in the aftermath of a report by its new owner, Santos.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said former deputy-prime minister, John Anderson, and the other directors of ESG should be held accountable forĀ  the 20 environmental incidents relating to waste management problems, over-clearing of bushland at up to 39 well sites, kangaroo deaths in water ponds, and high levels of salt in water discharged into creeks.

"On the face of it the company breached section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 which prohibits water pollution and carries a fine of up to $1 million," Mr Hutton said.

"That same Act carries another $1 million fine for breaching licensing requirements.

"Most importantly, section 22 of the Onshore Petroleum Act 1991 stipulates that such behaviour can cause a company's petroleum title to be suspended or cancelled and these failures on the part of Eastern Star Gas are so egregious that this is exactly what should happen."

Mr Hutton said Santos could not escape its responsibility for what has happened in the Pilliga .

"Santos had a 35 per cent share in ESG when these incidents took place and have had five further pollution incidents since it took over the company," Mr Hutton said.

"The main lesson to be learned from this report is that coal seam gas operations should not be occurring at all in an important environmental area like the Pilliga and there should be a moratorium on the whole industry until we can adequately gauge its safety.

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