An Open Letter to the Editor,  The Australian Financial Review

North West Protection Advocacy
PO Box 197 Coonabarabran NSW 2357

25 June 2019

The Editor
The Australian Financial Review

Dear Mr Stutchbury,

The editorial and story “Controversial CSG project set to get green light” (AFR Friday 21st June 2019 – reprinted below) contain many errors, starting with the claim that the Santos project would result in lowering of gas prices. Only a gas reservation policy to ensure gas stays in Australia at cheaper prices would achieve that aim. You state that “gas is expensive because there is plentiful domestic gas available in NSW and Victoria, but which State Governments have chosen not to develop out of cowardice in the face of unscientific green lobbies”. The real reason gas is expensive is because everyone on the east coast now has to pay the export price.

Your Editorial refers to Santos using “existing pipelines to send it into the State’s energy markets”. This is plainly incorrect. There is no such existing pipeline. The APA pipeline group has been trying desperately to build a new gas pipeline from Narrabri to the Moomba-Sydney pipeline, and has been blocked by communities from Coonamble all the way through.

As to the science, Santos has only provided a limited environmental impact assessment and has not satisfied the requirements of the Chief Scientist of NSW. To claim that local farmers ignore the science is ill-informed. Communities, including farmers, are the very people demanding science, transparent, unbiased science that considers the cumulative impacts of unconventional gas on groundwater and public health.

The cumulative impacts of unconventional gas on 12% of NSW are unknown because Santos is only required to do an EIS for the first stage – the Narrabri Gas Project for a Pilliga coal seam gas field of 850 plus gas wells in the Pilliga State Forest, and the launching pad for gas expansion in NSW that could cover 12% of the land mass of NSW.

The full extent of the proposed gas fields could result in over 20,000 wells reaching to the Queensland border, almost to Dubbo in the west, and south as far as the Upper Hunter Valley. That’s the real story.

Maria Rickert

Patron, North West Protection Advocacy
and Proprietor, The Pilliga Pottery
Tel: 02 6842 2239

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