Environmental approval has been given for the Narrabri Gas Project in the Gunnedah Basin subject to a number of conditions protecting regional biodiversity, groundwater and local communities.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley approved the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, following her review of a robust New South Wales assessment which imposes strict conditions on clearing limits, impact mitigation and rehabilitation.
“I am satisfied that the conditions, and the staged nature of work in the area, will safeguard the biodiversity of the Pilliga Forest,” Minister Ley said.
“My approval has also been informed by advice from the Commonwealth Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC) to ensure the ongoing protection of precious water resources.”
Approval conditions to protect water resources include:
- An early-warning system that includes ongoing bore-monitoring and modelling to identify any potential impacts on groundwater aquifers before they occur.
- Binding protocols identifying corrective actions, and cease-work provisions at gas wells where a groundwater exceedance is predicted.
- A robust chemical risk assessment framework to protect the environment and water resources during coal seam gas operations (no fracking is required or proposed for gas extraction).
- Santos will also establish a Community Benefit Fund of up to $120 million to share the ongoing benefit of the project with the Narrabri community.
Details of the approval are available on the department website at: http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/_entity/annotation/b4110561-152e-eb11-82c9-00505684324c/a71d58ad-4cba-48b6-8dab-f3091fc31cd5?t=1606195949773