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Dr John Williams Highlights Risks from Santos Coal Seam Gas Project at Narrabri

Coal News - Published on Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Image Source: Santos Coal Seam Gas Project Narrabri
ABC reported that one of Australia's most respected scientists Dr John Williams, a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, which was established in 2002 to campaign for sustainable development and water reform, has claimed the Narrabri coal-seam gas project poses too great a risk to the region's water, people and environment. Dr Williams has cast doubt on the AUD 3.6-billion Santos project as it enters the last phase of a state approvals process spanning almost four years. Dr Williams said "I personally don't think it is worth the risk. I don't think the current analysis is anywhere sufficient [enough] to give you confidence that there is low level of risk. Even the oil and gas company Santos admitted to uncertainties in its own scientific assessment of the project. There are many things where the report has been quite honest and we don't know but we'll proceed and hope it works out. That's not good enough. I think the risk to our vegetation and habitat, the risk to our agricultural land and the risk to our water resources is such that I don't think we are in a position, in my view, to say there is no risk to any of that.”

The NSW Independent Planning Commission recently concluded seven days of public hearings into the project, in which it heard more than 400 submissions. Santos and the Department of Planning, Infrastructure and the Environment claimed the project was subjected to rigorous scientific assessment and it could be developed with minimal and manageable risks to the environment. A decision is due early next month on whether the 850-well project will be approved.

Dr John Williams is a former head of CSIRO's Land and Water division, a New South Wales Land and Environment Commissioner and is currently an emeritus professor and research associate at the Australian National University.

The Narrabri gas project has been one of the most controversial and contested projects in New South Wales planning history

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Mon, 10 Aug 2020
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