MCCC rejects Santos Narrabri Gas Project (NGP)

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Should the NGP get the tick of approval from NSW Planning and obtain funding to construct the Narrabri gasfield it is inevitable that Santos or the NGP’s future owners will apply for additional wells, eventually in the vicinity of Maules Creek.

The Maules Creek Community Council Inc (MCCC) is concerned about the lack of essential information for landholders and the community in the Environmental Assessment (EA) to manage the impacts of the Santos Narrabri Gas Project (NGP) and the precedent that it could set. The project creates a great deal of uncertainty for landholders and is not a fit for purpose planning document for the people of NSW.

Much has been made of the 7,000 page NGP EA yet despite 10 years of planning, basic, fundamental data is missing. Namely the infrastructure locations, well locations, the baseline data for soil, surface and ground water quality, and the air quality at those locations.

Crucial location information required by landholders to assess the NGP has been deliberately held back, post approval, to be revealed in the “Field Development Protocol”, which is of little use to landholders making decisions today.

Baseline data at those locations, critical to hold the proponent to account is also not available, further impairing affected landholders ability to make plans to manage the impacts whether they are supportive or against the NGP.

Given Santos’s sketchy track record in the Pilliga, this information is essential to protect landholders, the environment and the community.

Landholders require baseline data and location information in order to:

  1. Take out insurance cover and make successful claims,
  2. Successfully enforce land access agreement indemnities in the courts,
  3. Assess the effectiveness or otherwise of adaptive management procedures,
  4. Avoid situations where the proponent has to “make good”,
  5. Understand cumulative impacts with other developments and where necessary to apportion blame

Full submission here.