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Byron Shire
May 20, 2024

Massive coal seam gas project at Narrabri approved by planning commission

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Santos’s $6.3 billion Narrabri coal seam gas field has been given the green light by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC), paving the way for the controversial project to go ahead.

Narrabri farmer Sarah Ciesiolka is still fighting for the safety of the water she needs to irrigate her land. Photo Tree Faerie.

In a move that has outraged environmental activists across the country, the proposal for 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga region was given ‘phased approval’ by the IPC at 9am this morning.

In handing down the reasons for its decision, the commission said Santis would be required to meet strict conditions before it was allowed to begun construction and production.

‘The Commission imposed conditions requiring further information to improve the groundwater impact modelling before the Project proceeds to Phase 2 [construction],’ it said.

The potentially devastating effects of the project on ground water supplies in the area – crucial for both the health of local ecosystems as well as local farmers – have been among the biggest concerns over the project.

Opponents argued that insufficient modelling and research had been undertaken into the rock formations around the seams where the gas was located.

They have warned that, when mined, the fractures and faults in these formations could result in shallow ground water aquifers running dry.

The project, which is set to supply half of the State’s gas needs, was the subject of seven days of public hearings earlier this year and 400 public submissions, the majority of which argued against approval.

Gomeroi woman Polly Cutmore told the ABC that First Nations people would fight the decision.

‘The Pilliga is Gomeroi land and Santos is not welcome there,’ she said.

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  1. Now this is a ‘EUREKA’ moment.

    EUREKA 2 : NO SANTOS [Stefanie Bennett]

    Some days you are so far from me
    I cannot touch you with plea or prayer.
    Through the complexities of sound I imagine
    perfect poems, hexagrams, and stars that
    would wake the dead if I could but set them asunder.

    What are you doing… where are we going?
    Was my shout too soft… my whisper too loud?
    Friends of now, past, and forever…
    you historians of the heart, inventors of truths,
    speak to me,
    of us: for God’s sake, set it down!

    Tell those, the ones who read you knowingly – and
    those who, unknowingly, rip your lines apart – how
    urgent is this need to reassess
    this howl that hangs in the clotting air:
    It’s time we learned to temper that thunder.

    There’s no use in hoisting flags when the dirge was sung
    so long ago. And my song, I fear, is weakening also.
    I swear I stand on my own lost echo
    and nothing, short of genocide
    will send it back.

    From the province of the ‘gun runners’ – where
    souls are swilled by high office Autocrats…
    and ideals are auctioned off to Foreign Cash…
    and the lame crawl one way only
    I beat my drum
    and call to you:

    Where are we going? Where…

  2. What a sad decision. I wonder how independent the Independent Planning Commission actually is or can be in this situation? I don’t think this project will get through into actuality without a big fight.

  3. Protest to this mad corrupt decision will be today at 2pm at Kevin (railway Killer) Hogan office. Pls spread the word, must be time for a general strike, cos next tues we will get the new gas n coal budget. Let’s stop this rot, money for their mates against all scientific advise!!!

  4. Go Gladys !
    Another milestone in your agenda of destruction, The Murray/Darling is stuffed and the Koalas are well on the way to extinction and now The Great Artesian Basin will just bubble away with methane, just like the Condamine River. You’ve certainly left your mark on the landscape, chalk another one up for multiculturalism !
    Cheers , G”)

  5. Well what a surprise!! NOT!
    Both major parties in this country are so in bed with fossil fuel corporations it’s mind boggling. Time to fill the cross bench with progressive Independents who will look after the real interests of the Australian people.

  6. These people who make these decisions will be regarded as the most heinous criminals. I prefer a criminal who steals because he or she is hungry or must feed their family even their drug habit than these who destroy our environment and steal our future.

  7. Read this quote:
    ‘The Commission imposed conditions requiring further information to improve the groundwater impact modelling before the Project proceeds to Phase 2 [construction],’ it said.
    Information does not improve the impact modelling.
    More rain and more water improves impact modelling. Something of substance.
    I just gave you some information and that information does not improve the situation.


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