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Knitting Nannas Visit Narrabri and Proposed Santos Gasfield During Third Annual Conference

September 11, 2017 - 00:16 -- Admin

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed (KNAG) held their third annual conference at Narrabri on August 25-27. Attendees came from around NSW and further afield. The theme of this year’s conference was “Well behaved women seldom make history”.    Narrabri was chosen as the venue because of its proximity to Santos’ proposed gasfield.  (The gasfield starts 6 km from the Narrabri Post Office.)The attendees welcomed the opportunity to network with other Nannas and to hear inspiring speeches from Sue Higginson (Environmental Defender’s Office ) and Sydney Morning Herald journalist  Elizabeth Farrelly as well as women from the local Gomeroi community.  Unfortunately Janelle Saffin, who had been scheduled to speak, was an apology because of illness.Perhaps the most important aspect of the conference was the opportunity to learn more about Santos’ gasfield which will cover a large area of farmland as well as the Pilliga Forest. In addition to hearing about local concerns, the Nannas had the opportunity to tour parts of the gasfield.This immense development of 850 gas wells will have a devastating impact on the biodiverse-rich Pilliga Forest which provides habitat for a range of threatened species including Koala.  It’s not just the number of wells proposed but all the accompanying infrastructure such as roads, pipelines, vents and flares which mean that large amounts of the forest will be cleared.So here we have land owned by the people of NSW – it’s OUR forest – which is going to be devastated so that Santos can make massive profits.  What was of great concern is that there has ALREADY been extensive infrastructure (wells, flares, wastewater storage and pipelines) developed in the Pilliga Forest – although to date it has only been a pilot project.Forest clearing is not the only issue about Santos’ gasfield.  There are major concerns about contamination of the water table and impact on the recharge of the Great Artesian Basin. Santos also has a poor record in preventing and then cleaning up toxic spills during operation of its pilot project. And then there’s the question of the disposal of huge volumes of produced water and salt.  Santos has not provided satisfactory answers to these and many other questions.While final approval has not yet been given for this proposal

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, the Nannas are concerned about the NSW Government’s record in pushing destructive mining projects which are not in the long-term community interest. We fear that this project will be approved despite all the opposition and the very many concerns about its long-term impacts.  It seems the big end of town is much more important to our politicians than the future health of our natural environment or productive farmland.   The Nannas want to see this change.- Leonie the Novice Knitter

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The massive EIS was on exhibition earlier this year.  A final decision on whether the project will be allowed to go ahead is yet to be made.Images suppliedGuest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration