Updated: June 18, 2012
Santos objects to release of 34 documents under freedom of information
The Wilderness Society Newcastle
18 June 2012
Environment groups are asking questions about what Santos have to hide after the company objected to the release of 34 documents relating to coal seam gas exploration in the Pilliga Forest, near Narrabri in north-western NSW.
In March 2012, The Wilderness Society applied to the Department of Trade and Investment under the Government Information Public Access Act 2009 for a restricted set of documents relating to the Santos coal seam gas exploration licences and operations in the Pilliga Forest.
The Department has informed The Wilderness Society that Santos has objected to the release of 34 of the 41 documents covered by the request.
"By objecting to the public release of these coal seam gas documents, Santos is acting as if they have something to hide" said Naomi Hogan, campaigner with The Wilderness Society Newcastle.
"Santos took over coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga Forest promising an open approach but instead we are lumped with tactics of secrecy and concealment around the impacts of coal seam gas on our waterways and forests.
"The list of documents Santos are trying to withhold from the public include descriptions such as 'EDA Rig Spill', 'Blow Out Fluid Loss of Control', ‘Santos Incidence Report’ and 'ESG Drill Fluid Release ICAM Report'.
"Records concealed by Santos appear to be information on worrying environmental failures with coal seam gas in the Pilliga Forest, failures which the community has every right to know about.
"We're calling on Santos to drop their objections and to release these coal seam gas documents to the public of NSW immediately" she said.
"The Pilliga State Forest is public land that belongs to the people of NSW and we have a basic right to know what is going on there" said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment.
"It is extraordinary that a private company can take over our public land, cause widespread damage and then try to keep all the details hidden.
"Santos has a serious credibility problem in the Pilliga and it will only get worse if they try to keep the community in the dark" she said.
Naomi Hogan, The Wilderness Society Newcastle, 0401 650 411
Carmel Flint, Northern Inland Council for the Environment, 0400 521 474
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Newcastle Inc
Hunter Heritage Centre,
90 Hunter Street,
Newcastle, NSW, 2300
Phone: 02 4929 4395