Gas giant Santos is playing politics when it should be sticking to science and proper process, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
In response to comments made by Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher during the Credit Suisse Australian Energy conference in Sydney, LTGA spokesperson Georgina Woods said the company had shown an arrogant disregard for existing laws, communities, and the environment during its push to build its controversial Narrabri gasfield.
“The NSW Government gave Santos a 12 month timeline to fast-track its controversial coal seam gasfield five years ago, but Santos failed to submit its environmental assessment on time and has failed to meet the standards of NSW environmental assessments ever since,” Ms Woods said.
“From Santos’ comments at the Credit Suisse event, it sounds as if it has lobbied the Premier and Treasurer directly, but neither of those politicians have the power to make a decision about this gasfield.
“In NSW, that’s done via an independent commission to avoid precisely this kind of inappropriate political interference.
“Santos has failed to comply with the NSW assessment process. It has twice refused reasonable requests for more information from the Department of Planning and Environment, the EPA, Narrabri Council, and the Rural Fire Service.
“It has refused an RFS request to not operate flares in the flammable Pilliga forest on extreme fire danger days, and refused the EPA’s request to assess the capacity of landfill facilities to accommodate their huge volumes of CSG waste.
“It’s a bit rich for Santos to throw the blame around now and try to use politics to duck environmental law and scientific scrutiny, especially when there is a gas import terminal which is well ahead of Santos’s project and properly going through the assessment process.
“Santos is the key architect of the gas price crisis in eastern Australia. It led the charge to build the export terminals at Gladstone in Queensland, linking us to the international market and driving up costs.
“Pulling up a small amount of gas at high risk and high cost from Narrabri will do nothing to reduce the price of gas for manufacturers.”