4 June 2012, REPORT – The Truth Spills Out: A Case Study of Coal Seam Gas Exploration in the Pilliga

This report by the Northern Inland Council for the Environment and The Wilderness Society contains damning evidence that coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga Forest have resulted in harm to the environment, including water pollution and soil contamination.  It alleges the licence holder has not complied with the provisions of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991.

You can download the entire report here.

For more information on coal seam gas in the Pilliga go to Stop Pilliga Coal Seam Gas or to the Santos CSG NSW website

Here is a summary of findings:

  • There is evidence of systemic and serious breaches of laws and regulations in the Pilliga Forest which have only been revealed as a result of community pressure.
  • The NSW Government has repeatedly relied on inaccurate information provided by gas companies in their public statements instead of collecting their own information.
  • Despite claiming to be undertaking a comprehensive investigation of coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga from early August 2011, the NSW Government failed to identify or act on the major breaches that were reported by environment groups after that date.
  • The NSW Government response to any substantive public complaint is to ‘announce’ that it is investigating, but such investigations in many cases appear to be nothing more than a tokenistic request for gas companies to respond to the complaint.
  • In fact, there have been up to seven different investigations ‘announced’ into coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga over the last 12 months. The scope and nature of those investigations has not been explained to the community and there is no public transparency in relation to them.
  • None of those investigations has yet led to any regulatory action against the companies involved.
  • The delay and inadequacies in Government responses means that it has not collected vital information relevant to properly investigate the matters in a timely manner.
  • There is evidence of a disturbing pattern of denial and blame-shifting by coal seam gas companies and governments when responding to genuine community complaints.
  • Statements made by Santos and Eastern Star Gas on a number of occasions do not match the facts as later revealed.

Related Media:

4 June, The World Today (audio file)

Government Response:



About Justin Field

I am a public commentator on mining, energy, democracy and environmental issues and an active member of the Greens in NSW. For the last four years I have been actively involved in the social movement against inappropriate mining and opposed to the quarry mentality that seems to be driving energy, economic and social policy in Australia today. I spent the three years previous as a policy advisor to Greens MPs in the NSW Parliament, most recently for Jeremy Buckingham with a focus on the mining portfolio. My background includes seven years in the Australian Army between 2000 and 2007. Following Officer Training at Duntroon in Canberra I had the rare privilege to be posted to The Pilbara Regiment in north Western Australia. Based first at Exmouth, then later at Karratha, I was able to see the impacts of large scale mining, processing and exporting on the environment and cultural heritage of the Pilbara. I grew up in Gladstone Queensland, and for some time on a small pawpaw and mango farm just outside of town. That farm was compulsorily acquired by the Queensland Government to make way for the shale oil industry that was proposed for the region. Farming in the district all but disappeared as a result of the buy-up. What has come to Gladstone is the a massive expansion of coal exports and more recently the construction of three liquified gas export plants on Curtis Island, much of which was previously pristine, located at the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Today I live and work part-time in Sydney and part-time on the NSW South Coast. Is is one of the few areas of NSW not covered mining exploration licences (however Leichhardt Resources announced plans in early 2013 to drill for coal seam gas in the Shoalhaven). I am currently working as the Senior Strategist for The Sunrise Project, working with coal and gas impacted communities to help drive the transition of Australia’s energy systems to being renewable and sustainable. My blog enables me to test my ideas and air my opinions. All opinions are my own and do not represent The Sunrise Project or the Greens. I am happy to receive any questions or feedback at justinfield1@gmail.com You can follow me @justinrfield on Twitter, 'Justin Field' on facebook or view my professional experience at LinkedIn.

Posted on June 4, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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