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Santos pleads guilty yet new gas wells approved

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It’s a critical time for the future of the Pilliga forest in North West NSW. The Pilliga has found itself in the firing line of our newly elected Government and of gas giant Santos, who are calling for the rapid development of the coal seam gas industry above all else, with their eyes firmly focused on the Pilliga forest.

We know the Pilliga forest is too precious to turn into a gasfield. The very place Santos wants to drill is home to many threatened species   including the koala, Pilliga mouse, superb parrot, south-eastern long-eared bat and Regent honeyeater   because there are so few places left for them to go. There’s little forest remaining west of the Great Dividing Range in NSW, and what we do have left deserves our protection.

Yet government and gas giant Santos are attempting to team up to take away environmental safeguards and build the biggest coal seam gas field in NSW in the heart of the Pilliga.

We know coal seam gas drilling and waste water treatment has not been proven to be safe.

Just last week Santos pleaded guilty to spills of toxic heavy metals and salts into the Pilliga, an important recharge zone for the Great Artesian Basin and part of our biggest food bowl catchment, the Murray Darling Basin.

The pollution event does not stand alone. Right now the NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating Santos’ seemingly irreparable leaking pond of coal seam gas waste water at its Bibblewindi water treatment plant in the forest.

Yet, in the flurry of the court case and ongoing investigations, the NSW Government has just approved eight new test coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga. It was a shock to see there is no set plan within these approvals to deal with the millions of litres of waste water. The contaminated brine from the coal seam gas drilling is the number one community concern with the industry, yet they have failed to put plans in place for treatment and disposal.

In fact, Santos’ plans for waste water treatment flip flop all over the place. One day they’re sending 35 trucks of waste water per day to Sydney, the next day they are re-injecting water into aquifers, or possibly planning build a reverse osmosis plant. The community is being left in the dark, with the drill rigs looming.

There is still time for you to help ensure the Pilliga does not become a gasfield.

What you can do

Take action today and contact NSW Ministers to call for water protection before coal seam gas drilling.  Let them know that coal seam gas has no social licence to operate in NSW, and that a clear and proven plan for how contaminated waste water will be managed is critical before any drilling takes place.

Like the Pilliga Mouse on facebook to stay in the loop with all the campaign updates and scientists, community members, farmers and Wilderness Society members who are part of the growing chorus of people speaking up for the Pilliga.

Join the Wilderness Society today and become part of a movement of people standing up for nature.