Stop the North West coal seam gas pollution: pause the industry, say locals

Published: June 13, 2013

The North West Alliance made up of 30 groups across the New England North West would like Minister Hartcher to STOP approving Santos coal seam gas wells and infrastructure until the current prosecution has been finalised.

The North West Alliance, made up of 30 groups across the New England North West, would like Minister Hartcher to STOP approving Santos coal seam gas wells and infrastructure until the current prosecution has been finalised.

The NSW Government needs to reinstate the pause on coal seam gas drilling activities in the region whilst prosecution action proves the damages involved with the industry.

"It's taken a huge amount of work and persistence from local landholders and environment groups to get Santos to admit to the problems in the first place," said Jennifer St Vincent Welch, Wee Waa.

"While companies who pollute our environment, contaminate our water and contravene their licence conditions should be prosecuted, what the community really wants is for the leaks, spills and contamination not to be happening in the first place,” she said.

"Santos and the NSW Government misled the public for months prior to this investigation, Santos claiming the spill site was rainwater, then eucalyptus leaves and even tried to point the finger at local farmers, which now they are trying to dismiss” said Penny Blatchford, Gurley.

"The only way to stop these serious pollution breaches is to press pause on the coal seam gas industry.”

"The coal seam gas has not proven it's able to operate safely, in fact, time and time again it's demonstrating the opposite is true,” she said.

"It's not satisfactory for Santos to get a little fine every time they pollute our water resources. The 2012 Santos fines only added up to $3000! It cost more for the water testing to prove the spill in the first place. On the driest inhabited continent on earth, we want our water protected from coal seam gas in the first place," said Anne Kennedy, Coonamble of the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group.

"Minister Hartcher needs to be very clear about what prosecution action he is taking in this case. Will the prosecution serve to deter future incidents of this nature? “Will the actions of Santos continue to be left to local landholders to keep an eye out and report, as is the current situation in the Pilliga?” she asked.

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