Lock the Gate Alliance has warned Santos that it can expect massive community backlash against its plans to drill hundreds of coal seam gas wells in Pilliga State Forest in north west NSW.
Santos told an industry conference this week in Sydney that it would push ahead with its coal seam gas drilling plans in the Pilliga but that the company would not be forcing its way into places it is not welcome and that it would seek to have as little impact as possible.
"Coal seam gas development is a high-impact land use. It is not welcome in sensitive environmental areas like the Pilliga forest and it is certainly not welcome on the farming land of the Liverpool Plains region,” said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
"Santos has the bush land and farm land of north-west NSW in its sights but the people of NSW have spoken loud and clear: coal seam gas is not welcome.
"The Pilliga forest is an iconic wilderness area that sits on the edge of the Liverpool Plains, home to the state's most productive agricultural land. NSW communities will not let Santos use the forest as its foothold to move in and industrialise the north-west region," he said.
"Santos will never have community support to rip up the Pilliga forest to build a gasfield. We've already seen the devastation caused by coal seam gas exploration in the forest with massive waste water spills contaminating soils and the skeletons of drowned animals discovered at the bottom of coal seam gas waste water ponds.
"The people of NSW will not allow our forests and food-producing areas to be put at stake for the profits of the coal seam gas industry, if that means we must blockade to protect our land and water then that is what we will do," he said.