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Flood-damaged gas pipelines expose Santos’ dangerous pipedream risk

Flood-inflicted damage to high pressure gas pipelines across NSW demonstrates the risks posed by Santos’ planned Hunter Gas Pipeline.

Media has reported that tens of thousands of people across the Central West are without gas following flood damage to APA’s Young-Lithgow Pipeline.

The damage comes just weeks after it was revealed a gaping chasm had opened up around the Central Ranges Pipeline near Bundella, which is also owned by APA, following floods.

Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson Margaret Fleck said the risk of soil erosion and physical damage would be greater for Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline if it was built. The pipeline would travel 620km through NSW alone between the QLD border and the coast near Newcastle, via Narrabri.

“Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline would travel through the vertisol soils of the Liverpool Plains if built,” she said. 

“These soils shrink in the dry and then swell with rainfall, and as we saw at Bundella and numerous other places, can open up into small craters if high pressure gas pipelines are built through them. 

“It’s like sticking a piece of dried spaghetti in boiling water and expecting it to stay straight.

“No farmer should have to put up with the risk Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline would pose to their property.

“The Hunter Gas Pipeline would also cross 136 rivers, streams, or creeks, including six Hunter River crossings and five Namoi River crossings. 

“It’s simply not worth the risk, particularly at a time when world leaders are meeting at COP27 in the desperate hope of forging a path away from fossil fuels.”

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Carmel Flint said it made no sense to be building new high pressure fossil fuel gas pipelines as the world decarbonised.

“The NSW Government is spending big on renewable energy zones right around the state - there’s no place for fossil fuel pipelines of the past," she said.

“There’s no need to even entertain the risk inherent in high pressure gas pipelines across the highly erodible soils of the Liverpool Plains. 

“We know we’re in for a less predictable climate, with harsher droughts and more widespread floods. The last thing we should be doing is building fossil fuel reliant infrastructure that is prone to breaking in such events."


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