More than 6000 submissions have been sent in response to the first public Environmental Management Plan for an NT fracking site - a huge number for the Territory, and a sign the public is deeply concerned about the proposal, according to Protect Country Alliance.
It’s the first test for new regulations that now require gas exploration companies to submit their exploration plans for public feedback as part of the assessment process.
“This is the first time Origin’s frack plans have been subject to public scrutiny, and the response has been huge,” said Graeme Sawyer of the Protect Country Alliance. “The community is appalled at their lack of respect for biodiversity and the risks they are prepared to impose on future generations”.
“Traditional Owners, health experts, wildlife experts and local community representatives are shocked and horrified that Origin’s frack plans include using open dams to store their toxic fracking waste.
“Origin wants to put birdlife at risk from drinking the polluted muck, plus it wants to leave it there during the extreme weather events of the wet season. It’s just not good enough.
“Origin’s plans for open waste storage and use of thousands of litres of toxic chemicals for just one frack well have caused a huge amount of anxiety.
“We’re also seeing thousands of objections from people right across the country, concerned that if fracking gets off the ground in the NT, it will be a massive carbon polluter.
Ray Dixon is a Traditional Custodian for the region downstream from Origin’s frack site.
“There are many Traditional Owners who are sharing concerns about Origin’s fracking plan and the downstream impacts.
“Origin Energy wants to build a fracking gasfield in the catchment areas for Newcastle Waters and Lake Woods. When the rains come, they can rapidly flood wide areas. Right now it’s pretty dry, we are in the drought season now, but if we have a massive wet season, it could turn up any time of the year. That’s a big worry for us.
“No matter when the rains come, large open ponds holding polluted or poisoned water will be a magnet to the birds and animals who inhabit the area.
“There are a lot of Territorians that are standing with me and my people. We understand that we don’t need fracking and the waste in this part of the country,” he said.
Minister Lawlor, the NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the EPA will now consider the thousands of submissions and refer them to Origin for further feedback, before further decisions are made.