‘Like a bulldozing a freeway, without saying which buildings will be knocked down’
Environmental groups have already levelled criticism at Santos' Response to Submission, saying the report "failed to reveal crucial aspects" of the gas field.
Wilderness Society spokeswomen Naomi Hodgson said the company’s approach was “like saying it wants to bulldoze a freeway through a city but refusing to say where the route will go and which buildings it wants to knock down”.
“Santos has still not revealed where it will drill its 850 wells and where the hundreds of kilometres of pipes and roads will go so it’s impossible to say exactly how bad the impacts will be,” Ms Hodgson said.
“The Rural Fire Service highlighted this as a problem in its submission and Santos has still not revealed this information.”
Ms Hodgson said the report also failed to address concerns about waste management and how the project will impact endangered species in the Pilliga forest.
A Santos spokesperson said the Response to Submission had carefully considered the public submissions made on the project’s Environmental Impact Statement.
“[The report] confirms the project can be developed safely and sustainably,” they said.
“Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project could supply enough natural gas to meet up to half of NSW’s natural gas demand and reduce reliance on gas imports from other states from 95 per cent to less than 50 per cent.
“At a time when Australia needs more gas to meet demand and lower energy prices, the project will deliver critical gas supplies to the NSW domestic market and support the more than 1 million NSW homes, 33,000 NSW businesses and 300,000 NSW jobs that rely on natural gas as a source of energy.”
GAS giant Santos has formally given the NSW government its response to the 23,000 submissions its Narrabri coal seam gas project received, moving the proposal to the next phase of its assessment.
The Narrabri Gas Project proposal involves a coal seam gas field with up to 850 new gas wells to be developed progressively over 20 years, and gas processing and water treatment facilities.
Of the record-breaking 23,000 submission, the vast majority objected to the project – according to Santos’ Response to Submission report (RtS), 98 per cent were against the project, while the remaining two per cent were in favour or neutral.
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NSW Resources and Energy Assessments director Mike Young said the response could be accessed on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website.
“Santos’ RtS will now be thoroughly and carefully considered, alongside the Environmental Impact Statement and all submissions from the public, government agencies and community groups,” Mr Young said.
“Community consultation is an integral and important part of the planning assessment process.
“We have consulted broadly on this application from the beginning, including holding public information sessions in the local area during the exhibition period, and establishing an independent water expert panel.”
Under NSW planning laws, any major project that receives more than 25 objecting submissions will be determined by the Independent Planning Commission.
The Department will make its assessment information publicly available when finalised.
More to come.