Activist group appeals against Santos GLNG’s gas field development expansion

A group of activists lodged a case in the Federal Court of Australia against the approval of Santos GLNG gas field expansion issued by the Federal environment minister, Greg Hunts.

Under the approval, 6,100 coal seam gas wells will be drilled in an area spanning almost 1 million hectares of land from Roma east to Taroom and Wandoan, and north towards Rolleston.

In its challenge, the Western Downs Alliance claims the approval was “unlawful as it ignores plans by Santos to dump CSG wastewater into the Dawson River”.

The alliance spokesperson, Sarah Moles, said the first of its kind case argues that minister Hunt has “not reviewed the impact of wastewater release” from the CSG project into the Dawson River.

“The Environmental Impact Statement for the project predicts that it will impact on 73 water bores used by landholders in the area, and will extract 219 billion liters of water over the life of the project and produce 22 billion liters of salty brine as waste,” Moles said.

The group is calling for the minister to provide the documentation he based his decision upon.

Additionally, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee noted that there are “uncertainties about the impacts of the project” on surface and ground water.

Australian political party, the Australian Greens, that have taken part in establishing the water trigger, an act put into the national environmental law to protect water resources, have extended their support to the Western Downs Alliance.

The Greens, called for the water trigger to be enforced against the coal seam gas in western Queensland.

APPEA claims, activist action strategically causing delay

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association commented on the activist action, saying it is only delaying a lawfully approved project.

APPEA Director Chris Lamont said, “While every court matter should be considered on its merits, there is clearly a strategy in place.”

Lamont notes a certain document named ‘Stopping the Coal Export Boom’ details the strategies used by activist groups to disrupt and delay resource projects. According to the document, legal challenges can stop projects, or at least cause delay, buying time for stronger public campaigns, expose impacts, increase costs and raise investor uncertainty.

APPEA said the recent action taken by the Western Downs Alliance is the “example of activists trying to disrupt and delay job creation and investment in Queensland”.


LNG World News Staff

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