Kimberley under threat
Unfortunately the Kimberley is the latest area to come under threat of fracking by the oil and gas industry. A quick submission is needed in the hope of stopping this venture. Environs Kimberley have provided 'do-it-yourself' or a 'pre-filled' submission options here. However, do-it-yourself submissions are the only ones that are counted separately. The 'pre-filled' ones are noted but are all counted as just one submission. So it it best to make your own arguments even if they are brief. Some of the arguments you used for your Narrabri submissions apply more generally. Below are some of the points from the pre-filled submission. You may wish to use some of these and put them into your own words in your 'do-it-yourself' submission. Just fill out your own name, email address and postcode and check the "I want to write my own message" box and start typing.
- Fracking could result in thousands of oil and gas fracking wells across the Kimberley
- Fracking involves the use of large volumes of toxic chemicals
- The industry entails drilling and fracking through aquifers, with serious risks of pollution
- Flowback fluid is likely to contain radioactive material, as in previous fracking operations
- Liquid waste ponds have overflowed in the Kimberley in the past during heavy wet season rainfall events – this is unacceptable
- The absence of World's Best Practice, e.g. storage and disposal of flowback fluid in open ponds instead of closed bladders
- The process of fracking requires wastewater reinjection as well as the pumping of large volumes of water, proppant and toxic chemicals under extreme pressures, and has been known to cause earthquakes – this has been well documented and was an important factor in the banning of fracking in the UK
- The oil and gas fracking industry undertakes seismic surveys on the ground which requires large scale land clearing. This often requires very large areas of habitat to be destroyed, with grid patterns of cleared land severely damaging the landscape values of the tropical savannah.
I note that the WA Government has committed to an 'Implementation Plan' for fracking that includes a number of actions that have yet to be completed, including:
- Veto rights for Traditional Owners
- Veto rights for freehold land owners
- Iconic Natural Heritage Places to be protected from fracking
- Code of Practice
- Early and ongoing engagement with local communities
- Public Health Impact
- Penalties (environmental compliance tools)
- Financial assurances
Given that these actions and others have yet to be finalised, and it is unknown which of them will require legislative changes, it is premature for the EPA to make a decision on this proposal.
We call on the EPA to delay any decisions on this proposal until the WA Government's 'Implementation Plan' is finalised.
If the EPA does not reject this proposal then I strongly recommend the proposal to be set at the Public Environmental Review level. Reasons for this are:
- The extremely high level of public interest
- The proposed destruction of threatened species habitat
- Groundwater drawdown potentially affecting stygofauna
- The sensitive location – Fitzroy River catchment
- Risks of pollution
- Greenhouse gas emissions
(Courtesty of Kathy McKenzie)
Since the devastating news of the Project's approval, the various anti-gas campaign groups have banded together even more strongly than before and are planning ways to stop it. Our aim is to force Santos to abandon the project and here's how you can help.1. Stop investment and support for Santos:
- EnergyAustralia owns 20% of the Narrabri Gas Project. If they are your electricity provider please go to Switch for Narrabri, change your provider and let them know why. Regardless of who your retailer is, switching will help kick-start renewables around Narrabri as Enova will contribute $50 from every new sign up to local renewables not-for-profit Geni.Energy.
- Does your super fund invest in Santos? Visit this page to find out. If they do, you can object via Market Forces. Support their other campaigns against:
- providers of finance and insurance for fossil fuel companies;
- government subsidies and handouts for the fossil fuel industry.
- 350.org campaigns to stop fossil fuels and build 100% renewables.
- Download Gloucester Knitting Nannas paper petition against funding gas infrastructure.
- Support a bill to be introduced by NSW Independent, Justin Field, to extinguish the 12 expired Petroleum (gas) Exploration Licences (PELs) which cover more than 55,000 km2 between the Upper Hunter and the Queensland border. Narrabri is situated in the middle of these licences, some of which are over prime agricultural land. Due to the cost of infrastructure, it is unlikely the Narrabri Gas Project will go ahead unless it can expand into these areas.
- More tourists are visiting the Pilliga forest due to covid and the publicity surrounding Narrabri Gas. A booklet and website are being developed to show where to go and what to look for. Travelling in the area and taking photographs increases security costs for Santos. Pilliga Protectors will be watching closely to ensure Santos complies with all the conditions of their approval. See this great article from The Guardian for some ideas for your trip: A 2,000km road trip through north-west NSW
- Support community campaigns and actions in your area
- Standby for blockades in the Pilliga Forest and along the pipeline route
The IPC's 134 conditions of approval are a huge hurdle for Santos. Some, including the disposal of salt waste, have to be solved before Phase 1 of the project can start.
- Phase 1 - Drilling up to 25 wells for ongoing appraisal will enable the company to make a final investment decision
- Phase 2 - Construction of production wells and related infrastructure can only commence when a pipeline is approved linking the project to the domestic gas network
- Phase 3 - Gas production can only begin when a pipeline is commissioned
Two pipeline routes for the project have not been surveyed. Local opposition made this very difficult in the past.
The Narrabri Gas Project has been granted approval by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC). It was almost inconceivable that this could happen after the compelling arguments against the project made at the hearing and in submissions. Over 10,000 submissions were received and the vast majority opposed the project. Yet approval was given and at a time of climate and extinction crisis. The government got its way when evidence overwhelmingly signalled that this project definitely should not proceed.
Given the huge opposition to the project and in the knowledge that Narrabri would be first cab off the rank in the federal government's gas-led recovery, this will not be the end of the issue. Opposition in future will take different forms. Georgina Woods of Lock the Gate discusses the outcome and current and future ways in which we can oppose this disastrous project.
Information from Georgina Woods from Lock the Gate
The Independent Planning Commission has today granted conditional development approval to Santos' Narrabri coal seam gas project in the Pilliga forest.
This is a devastating blow to people all over the North West and across NSW. Science, law, overwhelming public objection and severe environmental risks were not sufficient reasons for the Commission to stand with the community and our future generations and stop this gasfield.
We were up against it. There's been huge political pressure in the last month in favour of gas. Powerful vested interests have the ear of the Government.
But we've all been fighting coal seam gas in north west NSW since before this Government came to power. We're not giving up now.
Today, we invite you to share your feelings of betrayal, anger and outrage at this terrible decision...
- Call the Premier and Ministers now and tell them how you feel.
- Post on social media and share our post here.
- Donate to the Narrabri Fightback Fund to support communities as they take on Santos
- in the courts and the boardrooms and along the pipeline route*
- Write a short letter to the Sydney Morning Herald and the local paper.
TAKE ACTION NOW
Let's make sure the political and corporate elites responsible for this decision see our unwavering opposition to this project.
The work together to stop this gasfield continues.
Approval from the State Government is only one thing Santos needs to proceed. They now have 134 conditions to meet.
They also need funding from banks and investors. They need a decision by their board to proceed. They need a pipeline to take their gas to market. They need insurance.
Your valiant efforts delayed this gasfield by many years. Together, we can still take action to stop it.
Stopping financial investment in this gasfield starts today with our backlash. Make sure they see how strongly the community rejects this decision and our determination to stop this damaging project from destroying the Pilliga forest and threatening the groundwater of north west NSW.
Thank you for all the work you've done already. It will now be crucial to our shared campaign to stop Santos ever securing funding for this gasfield.
Climate Change Protest Action
Stop CSG Blue Mountains members took part in the "Fund Our Future, Not Gas" action at Katoomba. The action was part of a nation-wide protest organised by School Strike 4 Climate on 25th September to oppose the Government's promotion of a gas-led recovery from Covid-19.