CSG impacts laid bare

LONG TIME COMING: Santos’ Todd Dunn and Peter Mitchley at the Narrabri Gas Project, with a flare going off in the background. The EIS will be released publicly soon. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 050215GOA08SANTOS has submitted its long-awaited environmental impact report for the Narrabri Gas Project to the NSW government.
Nanjing Night Net

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an important document in the coal seam gas development’s approval process.

Its announcement has local opposition groups, who have been waiting up to three years for the EIS, gearing up to protest the development, which will have 850 wells spread across about 1000 hectares of the Pilliga forest.

Santos drew on more than 13,000 hours of on-ground environmental surveys to create the EIS, which covers potential impacts to water,flora, fauna, soil, noise, air quality, cultural heritage sites andsocial impacts.

The company’s managing director Kevin Gallaghersaid Santos took its time producing a comprehensive EIS so the local Narrabri community could be confidentthe environment and water would be protected as the project developed.

“The EIS has concluded the project can proceed safely with minimal and manageable risk to the environment,” Mr Gallagher said.

While the document has been submitted to the government, it is yet to be made publicly available. It is expected to be released in the coming weeks for a public exhibitionperiod of 60 days.

Environmental groups across the region have already stated their intention to go over the EIS with a fine comb.

“We are going to be stuck with our heads deep in the document to look for the major risks we can see and the issues not covered, because we know they will be in there,” Wildness Society spokesperson Naomi Hodgson said.

“Given the list of breaches that continue to happen during the project’s exploration, it’s difficult to believe when they scale the project up, the impacts won’t be multiplied.”

Santos says the project could create about 1300 jobs during the initial construction phase, around 200 ongoing jobs, generate $1.2 billion in state royalties and contribute up to $120m to the local community through the Gas Community Benefit Fund.

The EIS announcement follows the newsAPA Group has signed a deal with for gas transportation through a $500m pipeline.

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