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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Lismore Nanna locks on in Pilliga forest

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Louise Somerville locked on. (suppied)
Louise Somerville locked on. (suppied)

A 51-year-old Knitting Nanna from Lismore has spent this morning ‘locked-on’ to the gates of Santos’ Leewood wastewater facility, which is part of the company’s plans to develop 850 gas wells in the Pilliga forest near Narrabri in North West NSW.

Louise Somerville told Echonetdaily that it was important that ‘Australia wakes up’ to the potential damage of the gas industry on the environment.

‘Santos plans to use 400,000 litres of water per well. With 850 wells this will greatly de-pressurise the underground water system,’ she said, prior to being removed by police this morning.

‘I’m locked on to this gate to peacefully protest which is my right as an Australian citizen, because I would like to see this country looked after.

‘I have four children who will be here long after I die and I believe we all have a right to clean water air and land.

‘Our water is our most precious resource and the Narrabri Gas Project threatens the recharge functions and pressure of our largest aquifer, the Great Artesian Basin.

‘I’ve seen the spread and impact of the CSG industry in QLD and I’m determined to do my part to prevent Santos wreaking the same havoc across NSW.

‘On my visit to the QLD gasfields I met families with sick children. One of the children’s noses started bleeding while I was there which was a highly distressing sight as a mother.’

The Leewood facility is designed to treat toxic coal seam gas wastewater from current exploration works of up to 1 million litres each day.  

Today’s actions follow a lock on action on Friday which resulted in the arrest and charge of two women in their fifties, and many weeks of daily blockades which have caused ongoing delays and interruptions to Santos’ construction activities.

Ms Somerville said the protests were having an impact, noting that Santos share price had been falling as as result of the actions.

‘Santos is trying to sneak this through under the cover of the holiday season but it’s not going to work,’ she said.

‘There are waves of people coming and going (to the protest site) who don’t want this going ahead.’

The Knitting Nanna’s aim is to peacefully and productively protest against the destruction of the land and water by exploration the mining of coal seam gas and other nonrenewable energy.

Ms Somerville locked-on before sunrise this morning and is just one of a number of northern rivers local who are making the trek to stand by the people of the area in the ‘Pilliga Push’, a group who plan to blockade the Pilliga until mining operations stop.

Louise Somerville, a Knitting Nanna from Lismore, spent more than 3 hours locked to the gate at the Santos wastewater facility in the Pilliga Forest.
Louise Somerville, a Knitting Nanna from Lismore, spent more than 3 hours locked to the gate at the Santos wastewater facility in the Pilliga Forest.

Louise Somerville. Photo Tree-Faerie

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  1. Thanks Louise was a privilege to meet you and as a local in our more sparsely settled area of the Pilliga it is so heartening to have people like you come to support us. Our local group has been fighting strongly for a number of years so it is a huge relief to get the support that is no building. Thanks folks from the Northern Rivers and so pleased that your struggle has had such a great outcome!
    Rosemary Vass – Coonabarabran

  2. C,mon all U knitters,nana,s U will have “BIG CORP” trying 2 figure out how to counter-act U! They will try anything,any allegation,if U smoke pot ,,so what? They will have U dealing in drugs of dependence! Dole bludgers,child beaters,Communists(there they R in bed with China!) So keep your spirits up ALL AUSTRALIA SHOULD BE ON YOUR SIDE!


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