The NSW Government’s Independent Planning Commission is now considering whether Santos’ huge Narrabri Gas Project will be given the final tick of approval.
This project, which involves the drilling of 850 coal seam gas (CSG) wells south west of Narrabri in the Pilliga Forest, is supported by both the state and federal governments.
There is, however, considerable opposition in the local area and further afield.
A major concern for many of the region’s farmers is the development’s impact on water– both in relation to depressurising local aquifers and the southern re-charge zone of the Great Artesian Basin. Furthermore, the huge volumes of water extracted during the drilling are saline and contain heavy metals. Santos has no credible plans for dealing safely with the salts or the produced water.
The high conservation value Pilliga Forest will be severely impacted. There will be significant clearing for roads, pipeline routes, and well surrounds. This fragmentation of natural habitat will create problems for many local fauna species – including threatened species such as black-striped wallabies, koalas and eastern pygmy possums.
Other concerns relate to Aboriginal cultural heritage, the rosy claims about the economic value of the project, and health issues for those living in the vicinity of the gas-field, as well as its climate impacts.
The IPC panel’s determination will be of great interest to many people in the immediate area of Santos’ development but also further afield – including here in the Northern Rivers.
The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed are hoping that the NSW Independent Planning Commission will not give approval for this damaging project.
Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas & Greed