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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January 31st, 2020: "Pilliga Rising" wins award

Balangara Films has won an Award of Excellence from The Impact DOCS Awards Competition for ‘Pilliga Rising.' The film was commissioned by The Wilderness Society to bring attention to Santos’ coal seam gas project in The Pilliga Forest and features community leaders rising up to oppose Santos’ proposal to drill 850 gas wells in the southern recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Director, Mark Pearce took over 12 months to complete the film with cinematographers Miles Bennett and and Lee Herbet. The diverse cast included Gamilaraay First Nations people, farmers, citizen scientists and a family of German potters.   “It’s a remarkable effort by everyone involved in the film. To win an award like this is a real honour, and to be recognised alongside some of the most powerful social issue documentaries of 2020 is a terrific feeling.

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January 31st, 2020: Roy Butler says: "No shortage of gas, just a shortage of common sense"

“There is no shortage of gas in Australia, there’s a shortage of common sense in Canberra when it comes to gas export policy and domestic gas reservation policy,” says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler.

 

 

 

 

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January 31 2020: Bribery and betrayal: NSW gas deal could drain groundwater and worsen climate change

The ‘energy deal’ announced today between NSW and Federal Governments looks designed to unleash coal seam gas drilling in north-west NSW, threatening drought-affected farmers and allowing Santos to drain 37 billion litres of groundwater.

Crucially, it will do little to bring down greenhouse gas emissions due to its reliance on dirty, polluting unconventional gas.

 

 

Photo: Gas wells produce a lot of fugitive emissions

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