North-west NSW farmers were joined by a traditional custodian last week at a protest outside the Sydney annual general meeting of the company that plans to build a gas pipeline to Santos’s controversial Narrabri coal seam gas scheme in the Pilliga Forest.
APA Group has been met with direct confrontation in its attempts to survey the route for the Western Slopes Pipeline and was forced to cancel planned community consultation events due to local opposition.
Recently APA Group announced the submission of its Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline had been pushed back due to ongoing delays with the Narrabri Gas Project’s application, which is years behind schedule, in part due to community opposition.
Coonamble farmer Simon Fagan said, ‘Our community is united in opposition to the APA Group pipeline and to any infrastructure or activity related to coal seam gas. We have passed unanimous motions declaring our intention to block the pipeline at any cost. We will do whatever it takes to protect our underground water and our farmland from the threat of coal seam gas.
‘We’re in the grip of drought and really battling to keep afloat. In this day and age, it’s utter madness to push forward with fossil fuel projects that risk our most precious resources, our water. We demand that APA Group drop the Pilliga gas pipeline.’
Gamilaraay traditional custodian Raymond Weatherall said, ‘APA Group has not properly surveyed the pipeline route for cultural heritage impacts. The area is rich with heritage sites, like scar trees, burial grounds and birthing sites. We do not give our consent to a gas pipeline tearing through hundreds of kilometres of our Country.’
Wilderness Society Newcastle Campaign Manager Naomi Hodgson said, ‘The depth and scale of community rejection of the Narrabri Gas Project is directly relevant to APA Group’s Pilliga gas pipeline. The public scrutiny of the Narrabri project has led to government agencies requesting further information from Santos before the assessment can proceed. This has directly delayed the APA pipeline which is utterly reliant on the construction of the Narrabri gasfield.’