Santos to be pursued over 10,000 litre coal seam gas water spill

MEDIA RELEASE – 13 January 2012

Green MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has slammed Santos for taking months to disclose a leak of 10,000 litres of untreated coal seam gas water at its Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga Forest.

Pilliga contamination with bottle

A tarry substance near coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga Forest NSW

Santos released a statement today admitting 10,000 litres of untreated saline coal seam gas water had leaked into the environment.  Previously Santos had denied such a spill and blamed eucalyptus leaves ‘discolouring rain water’.

The Department of Primary Industries has also released a statement saying that they were not notified of the leak when it occurred.  They have described it as a breach of the exploration licence, and they are pursuing enforcement actions.

“This leak of waste water has poisoned part of the Pilliga forest and shows how high risk the coal seam gas industry is to our land and water resources,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This spill of coal seam gas waste water reinforces the need for a moratorium on any further coal seam gas exploration across the entire state. This industry is clearly not safe and continues to be shown to be failing to meet its legal obligations and its obligations to the community.

“Santos has shown it is no different to other gas companies. They are using the tried and tested model of deny, deny, deny and then when forced by overwhelming evidence into a mea culpa they claim to be cooperating with the authorities.

“The Government’s own media release fails to acknowledge that the community reported tree deaths in the area to the Department of Resources and Energy on 28 October last year. Now that the company has been forced to admit through community pressure of a coal seam gas water spill in the area the Government is trying to say they have only just be made aware by Santos.

“Barry O’Farrell cannot ignore the mounting failures of the NSW Department of Energy and Resources to monitor and regulate the coal seam gas industry.

“I have toured the Pilliga Forest and seen first hand the dead trees adjacent to gas wells and dead animals in and near unlined drilling ponds. It is clear as day that the Pilliga gas project is having a huge environmental impact on the Forest.

“The Government last year accused community campaigners of tampering with wells in the Pilliga after footage showed gas leaking from pipelines in the Forest. It was later shown that a complaint with video evidence of the same leak had been sent to the government previously and had gone un-investigated,” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Local farmer who first discovered the spill on New Years Eve – Tony Pickard: 67932104


One comment

  • Jeremy

    Good work, the same thing happened ten years ago, and i got abc to cover it, but didnt get much legs. Its great to see you on board to oppose csg in the Pilliga now.



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