October 9, 2019 by admin
LAST week’s residents’ blockade of Dart Energy’s pilot coal seam gas project at Fullerton Cove cost the company between $16,000 and $22,000 a day, the Land and Environment Court heard yesterday.
Dart Energy is fighting an injunction to stop all work on the project until an environmental impact study has been undertaken.
Fullerton Cove Residents’ Group barrister Verity Williams told the court that the assessments being relied on to gain approval for the project were scientifically and legally flawed.
She said an urgent injunction was necessary to prevent irreparable damage occurring to the site before the group’s case for an environmental impact study had been heard.
“If we are ultimately successful we will not have a remedy [if the injunction is not granted]. The work will have been carried out and the horse will have bolted,” she said.
Ms Williams said evidence suggested the project would affect three aquifers: Stockton, Tomago and Tomaree. It was also on a floodplain and within two metres of the groundwater table.
The residents’ challenge to the project is regarded as a test case for other coal seam gas projects in the Hunter and elsewhere in the state.
The company argued that it should not have to undertake an environmental impact study because it had received all necessary state and Commonwealth approvals.
The company’s barrister Craig Leggat cited a Hunter Water Corporation letter, which said the project would not adversely affect the Tomago beds.
He said all available evidence indicated the project would not cause lasting environmental damage. If the project did not proceed to the production stage the two pilot wells would be capped.
“The project will affect two hectares of pasture that will be rehabilitated,” Mr Leggat said.
Justice Terry Sheahan will deliver judgment in the case this afternoon. If an injunction is granted, it will be followed by a further hearing about the need for an environmental impact study.
BLOCKADE: The Fullerton Cove CSG protest. – Picture: Peter Stoop
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