NSW Government support for Narrabri gasfield a betrayal

Lock the Gate Alliance and north west NSW farmers have today slammed the Planning Department’s decision to label the destructive and polluting Santos Narrabri coal seam gas “approvable."

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Planning Commission asked to decide Narrabri gasfield despite major flaws in regulation and knowledge

Lock the Gate Alliance has condemned the referral of Santos’ Narrabri coal seam gas project to the Independent Planning Commission just days after a Parliamentary Inquiry found there was a severe lack of information and regulation related to the industry.

“The Commission will be stabbing in the dark when it tries to make a decision on this destructive, polluting proposal,” Lock the Gate NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said.

“Major flaws in regulation and knowledge of coal seam gas were identified by a parliamentary committee two weeks ago, yet Planning Minister Rob Stokes has not listened and has referred this project anyway.”

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NSW Great Artesian Basin Water Sharing Plan

Despite water flow having no regard for borders, the Great Artesian Basin is managed by three states and the Northern Territory as a local water resource.

The current NSW Great Artesian Basin Water Sharing Plan expires on 1 July 2020 and Water in NSW, part of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, has prepared a draft replacement plan. 

This week the department held public meetings in Moree, Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Coonamble, as part of the public exhibition phase.

 

 

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March 4th, 2020: The Narrabri Gas Project should not go to the Independent Planning Commission

Based on the NSW Government's failure to comply with safety recommendations, the Narrabri Gas Project is unsafe and should be halted, writes Johanna Evans and Anna Christie.

THE NSW GOVERNMENT has failed to satisfy a raft of recommendations by the NSW Chief Scientist intended to provide a roadmap for the development of a world-class gas industry that is safe and sustainable’. In 2014, 16 recommendations were handed down by then Chief Scientist, Professor Mary O’Kane, which the NSW Government supported in full.

The recommendations included implementing ‘strong and certain regulation’ as well as ensuring mechanisms for data transparency and insurance against long-term environmental damage.

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February 28th, 2020: Unsure on insurance: NSW landholders face future risks should CSG go ahead parliamentary report

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency appears to have abandoned a key coal seam gas risk mitigation measure recommended by the NSW Chief Scientist, placing landholders at future risk should the industry go ahead in the state. 

The EPA has quietly conceded it will not proceed with implementing a long-term environmental rehabilitation fund recommended by the Chief Scientist.

The environmental authority also admitted it was not sure insurance would be available to protect landholders from spills and contamination. 

The concerning revelations follow the EPA’s appearance at a Legislative Council inquiry earlier this month into the long-delayed implementation of the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendations on coal seam gas.

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February 28th, 2020: Methane Emissions Underestimated

The Morrison government and the gas industry claim gas is a transition fuel between coal and renewables but a recent report reveals emissions from gas are much higher than first thought. Although gas is a cleaner burning fuel than coal, the greenhouse gas benefit is cancelled out if methane leakage reaches about 5 per cent.

Both conventional and unconventional gas from coal seams or shale deposits consist mostly of methane. Both gases are called natural gas and are piped together into homes through the gas network. Methane has no smell. The odour we associate with gas is added during processing to keep us safe.
When coal seams are disturbed by gas extraction or coal mining, methane begins escaping into to the atmosphere. Gasfield infrastructure can leak methane from pipelines, wells, vents, processing plants and storage ponds. 
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February 28th 2020: Scathing parliamentary report proof Santos’ Narrabri CSG project must be scrapped

Lock the Gate Alliance is calling for an immediate halt to the assessment of the Narrabri CSG project after a NSW Parliamentary Committee described the industry as “uninsurable” and found the Berejiklian Government had failed to implement important Chief Scientist recommendations for the dangerous industry. 

The Committee report, tabled today, followed two dismal public hearings into whether the five-year-old recommendations had been implemented, where government representatives were unable to answer key questions or demonstrate how the Chief Scientist’s advice was being followed.

Today’s report concludes that only two of the 16 recommendations have been fully implemented and eight have not been implemented at all (see page 49 of the report).

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February 17th, 2020: No Pipelines, No Gasfields Meeting in Quirindi

On Saturday the 8th of February 2020 over a 100 people from along the proposed Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline route met at the Quirindi RSL. People came from Garah north of Moree to Stanhope east of Singleton.to learn more about this high pressure gas pipeline.

The pipeline company had failed to turn a sod in the initial 10 year period they were granted to commence construction and has recently been granted by the Government another 5 years to get started.

There has been a lot of land subdivision and change of property ownership since the pipeline was first approved in 2009. Hearing about this meeting was for some the first time that they had been made aware that they could be hosting a high pressure gas pipeline on their property. In fact, the pipeline company has admitted that they didn’t have an up to date landholder register of owners along the route.

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February 10th, 2020: Parliamentary inquiry hears damning evidence of CSG unreadiness

The evidence presented to the public hearing of the Legislative Council’s inquiry into implementation of the Chief Scientist’s recommendations on coal seam gas revealed big holes in data, risk management, governance, communication and understanding that will leave rural people in the North West of the state bearing the cost of neglect in lost or contaminated water, increased methane emissions and fractured communities.

The inquiry heard that at least six of the recommendations have not been implemented, including crucial recommendations related to data gathering, risk management tools, oversight bodies and environmental insurance.

The buy-back of licences and creation of no-go zones for coal seam gas entirely neglected the North West of the state. In coastal regions, licences were cancelled or bought back over Sydney’s drinking water catchment, Hunter Valley wine-country, and the farmland and towns of the Northern Rivers.

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February 1st, 2020: NSW Government bows to mining industry and weakens IPC; Narrabri CSG fast-track likely

The NSW Government looks set to weaken the Independent Planning Commission following a review by the Productivity Commission, potentially putting the Narrabri CSG project on a fast-track following the ‘energy deal’ announced yesterday.

The review released today recommends, among other things:

  1. Preventing the IPC from considering modifications to developments, no matter how large and serious the impact or how strong the public objection;
  2. Fast-tracking the process so that the IPC can only hold a single public hearing on a project;
  3. Limiting the IPC’s scope to obtain its own expert or legal advice if the Department of Planning has already done so, compromising its independence.
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