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Fair Water Use (Australia)

Media Release

Fair Water Use (Australia)

15th February 2010

Shame on you SANTOS: The unacceptable risks of coal seam gas mining

Environmental and public water-rights advocate, Fair Water Use, has received a report vindicating widespread public concerns about the activities of the mining sector in the Murray-Darling Basin. Its contents refute assurances from the industry that their coal seam gas mining operations will have little impact on the catchment of the nation’s largest river system.

The image below is of the area around the tailing pond of one of the thousands of exploratory shafts that are being drilled as part of the evaluation of coal seam gas mining in the Murray-Darling Basin; a much criticised process which threatens to contaminate and deplete local aquifers and creeks, cripple regional agriculture and reduce inflows into the river system.

Contaminated effluent escaping into the East Pilliga State Forest

Fair Water Use has been informed that the site in question is one operated by Eastern Star Gas, a company in which SANTOS has a 35% holding. The effluent flowing from the breach in its tailing pond contains a range of industrial contaminants. It is flowing into Jacks Creek and ultimately into the Namoi Catchment which feeds into the Murray-Darling river system. More images of the significant problems at the site may be viewed at: .

National coordinator of Fair Water Use, Ian Douglas stated this morning, “We have been advised that Eastern Star did not inform relevant authorities about the breach and consequent pollution until one week after the leak first occurred: five days later than the period required under the terms of its operating licence”.

He continued, “Coal seam gas mining has been abandoned in many parts of the world as a result of major environmental damage”.

“It has been allowed to flourish in NSW and Queensland by seriously compromised and revenue-hungry state governments which have ignored the conclusions of many independent reports on the issue”, Dr Douglas concluded.

Fair Water Use has contacted the Premiers of NSW and Queensland requesting that they heed the concerns of local residents and consider the potential impacts on the millions of Australians that depend on the Murray-Darling river system. It has urged Premiers Keneally and Bligh to intervene and put an end to coal seam gas mining in the region.

Authorised by:

Ginny Brown
Media Coordinator

Fair Water Use (Australia)

+61 (0)8 8398 0812

PO Box 384, Balhannah, South Australia 5242


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