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.
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.
4 June, The World Today (audio file)