Two arrested at Santos CSG site as blockades continue

Two women were arrested in the Pilliga forest this morning after standing in the way of a truck convoy carrying Santos CSG drilling equipment.

The women, both in their forties, are among seven others to be arrested in the forest this week as blockades and protests against Santos’ CSG work in the north-west of NSW continues.

Santos were reportedly using a police escort to move the drilling trucks through the forest.

Pilliga resident Maria Rickert said the group is concerned CSG activity being undertaken by Santos will lead to lasting environmental impacts.

Activism in the area has been common as some residents accuse the company of not having a social licence in to operate.

“Local people have tried all manner of letter writing and Narrabri Council requests to raise our concerns with the impacts of these coal seam gas fields in our region, yet we are being put in a position where we are risking arrest in order for Santos and the Government to take heed of our message,” Rickert said.

 “Santos has said publicly they will not go where they are not wanted, so why are they are forcing themselves through local farmers, townspeople and business operators who are clearly saying we do not want to endure the risks of coal seam gas to our region and water resources?"

As part of its work in NSW, Santos plans to drill 15 exploration wells in the Pilliga State forest and restart existing pilots that have been shut in since Santos took over Narrabri operations in November 2011.

Santos says it has all the approvals required to undertake CSG activity.

“Following a thorough assessment and analysis of the scientific information provided by Santos, the Commonwealth determined the program will not significantly impact water resources or other Matters of National Environmental Significance,” the company said.

 “While we acknowledge and respect the right of individuals to lawfully and safely protest, we are committed to carrying out this work in a safe and timely manner.

“While we have support locally for our activities, we continue to engage with the community to build additional support and understanding of our work and address concerns they may have.”

Image: Twitter: @georgefwoods

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