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Byron Shire
June 7, 2023

Signing in Lismore to save the Pilliga

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Jo Evans has been spending her spare time in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie.
Jo Evans has been in Lismore encouraging the community to submit an objection the the Santos EIS. Photo Tree Faerie.

Eve Jeffery

As the closing day for submissions against the Santos Narrabri Gas project draws closer, community groups from across the state and the country are ramping up their efforts to encourage Australians to respond to the company’s environmental impact statement (EIS).

With just 90 days to deliver community input, volunteers have been asking people to sign hard copy letters and go online to be a part of the process.

Santos have created the document in the hopes of constructing an 850 well gasfield in the Pilliga, an area which is a southern recharge site for the Great Artesian Basin.

Farmers, scientists, residents and celebrities are getting on board to have their say about saving the Great Artesian Basin. Photo Tree Faerie.
Farmers, scientists, residents and celebrities are getting on board to have their say about saving the Great Artesian Basin. Photo Tree Faerie.

Efforts to stop the project have escalated since the recent Santos AGM where chairman Peter Coates made comments which concern those who have a close eye on climate change. ‘The pathway that we adopt, is the four degree pathway’, he said during the meeting. ‘I think what we’re doing is very very sensible and consistent with good value.’

Many believe that a four degree rise will likely lead to the end of life on earth as we know it.

A local ‘Protectors’ group, the  Kyogle Group Against Gas, has been hosting pop-up objection tables in both Kyogle and Lismore in recent weeks and in a short space of time has gathered together over 400 objections.

Jo Evans from KGAG says that the volume of signatures collected so quickly, clearly shows this State Significant Project has absolutely no social licence anywhere. ‘People are crossing the street to sign, driving past and finding a park just so they can come back to make an objection’, she says. ’It’s obvious the project is unwanted. Many people just wish Santos would go away.’

Ms Evans says that APA recently announced they intend to construct a pipeline running through farming country to connect the Pilliga gasfield to the Sydney/Moomba pipeline. ‘Last week Barnaby Joyce announced major funding of the inland rail which will go all the way to Gladstone.

‘This is the pointy end of the fight against CSG in NSW and we must get thousands of submissions in order to get the best possible outcome from this process.

‘The EIS is a pretty overwhelming document full of technical jargon and numerous gaping holes which need to be exposed and pointed out to the fossil-fuel-loving NSW government.

‘It seems government is intent on sacrificing the north-west of NSW for extreme energy, against the wishes of the majority of the people.

The EDO's Sue Higginson is one of dozens of experts getting behind the submission process. Photo Tree Faerie.
The EDO’s Sue Higginson is one of dozens of experts getting behind the submission process. Photo Tree Faerie.

Jo says that the Pilliga is a real biodiversity hotspot, a beautiful forest with unique flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet. ‘It’s also a sacred space, sacred to the Original people, to the Gamilaraay’, she said. ‘We need to treat this like the biggest action we have ever done.

‘The people of NSW know that CSG is for Dummies but the NSW Government seem intent on allowing Santos to pursue this extreme energy which requires more energy to get out of the ground than it will ever provide.

‘It’s a foolish and risky project and the accompanying EIS is deeply flawed. This issue is directly relevant to the Northern Rivers. We do not yet have the protection of a permanent ban and we must support our friends in the north-west in resisting the CSG invasion.

‘We can’t allow a sacrifice zone, because the nature of gasfields is to spread.

Submissions close on May 22. If you would like to have your say go to the website: csgfreenorthwest.org.au and follow the prompts.

‘It’s an easy process, you can personalise the submission to make it more powerful’, she says.

‘If you went to Glenugie or Doubtful or showed up at Bentley, this forest needs you to speak for it.’

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  1. Thank you, KGAG, for offering the hard copy forms in local towns… I hope you’ll be at Lismore Farmer’s market this afternoon … May you get many more signatures!

  2. Great energy project. Developing Australian Energy Resources.
    Beats unpacking Chinese Solar Panels and calling it a “renewable” industry.

    • What’s so great about it? It’s high cost extreme energy, gas is no longer affordable for many households, investment in Australian renewables and using less energy is the way of the future. Indeed the future is here… why cling on to fossil fuels, they are unsustainable and polluting.


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