The Federal Government will reconsider a 14 year old decision not to assess the Hunter Gas Pipeline under Commonwealth environmental laws, dealing another blow to Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga Forest and Liverpool Plains coal seam gas exploration ambitions.
The decision was in response to a request from Lock the Gate Alliance, submitted jointly with ten local community groups, in early 2022, and a separate though complimentary request from the AMWU.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Carmel Flint said, “We’ve always believed the government of the day should have assessed this destructive, 833 km long high pressure gas pipeline under federal environmental laws.
“That need has only become more critical following the Black Summer bushfires, which pushed many ecological communities to the brink. Santos’ pipeline could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for endangered species whose homes would be destroyed for this project.
“Since the 2009 decision not to assess the pipeline, new information has come to light revealing the presence of threatened species along the pipeline route, including critically endangered Grassy White Box woodland, as well as the Regent Honeyeater, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Booroolong Frog and Corben’s Long-eared Bat.
“We’re calling on the Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to make this is a controlled action and require a thorough environmental assessment by Santos.”
Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson Margaret Fleck said the decision would increase landholder resolve to oppose the pipeline.
“Landholder opposition to Santos’ destructive pipeline and gasfield plans is already strong and this will strengthen their resolve,” she said.
“Farmers won’t let Santos sacrifice our sustainable land and water resources for a finite and polluting fossil fuel project.
“This added level of federal government oversight is needed, and we hope it exposes the true destruction Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline would inflict on the landscape, should it be built.”