The Wilderness Society

MEDIA RELEASE 12 February 2012

Santos withdraws Pilliga gas field proposal under watching eyes

The ‘Narrabri Project’, a proposal to sink 550 duel coal seam gas wells across the Pilliga forest of Northwest NSW, has been withdrawn from the Federal Government’s books, after a private meeting between Santos and the Federal Government last Friday.

All related proposals, including the gas field, power plant and major gas pipeline applications, have been withdrawn. This withdrawal means any future Santos gas field production applications will be subject to the recent listing of the koala as a nationally listed threatened species under Federal law, a significant hurdle for Santos.

“Santos couldn’t avoid public scrutiny of its dealings with the Federal Government and must have realised they couldn’t get away with weaseling out of koala protection laws,” said Wilderness Society Newcastle Campaign Manager Naomi Hogan.

“Any further Santos development applications will be subjected to the new koala protection laws, laws that unfortunately were not enacted soon enough to protect the Leard forest koalas from the devastating open cut coal mines approved by Minister Burke yesterday.

“This withdrawal provides the final proof that previous plans for NSW’s largest coal seam gas field and pipeline development across the Pilliga Forest and the Liverpool Plains was completely reckless.

“Finally, the old Eastern Star Gas application for a staggering 1100 wells across the Pilliga Forest is off the books for good, a win for all the community and environmental groups who have worked so hard to bring to light the staggering impacts of coal seam gas mining across the region.

“With this win under our belt, we will continue our work to ensure Santos self refer all their major upcoming exploration activities and pilot production to the Federal Government and the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

“The string of spills, investigations, fines, water pollution and clearings that have already occurred in the forest should encourage the Federal Government not wait until full blown gas production to oversee the impacts of national environmental significance from Santos gas mining activities.

“Santos must now be realising that if they do not engage in the highest levels of due process, they will only encourage a much more focused and determined public backlash.”

Link to the withdrawal:

Contact: Naomi Hogan, The Wilderness Society, 0401 650 411

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