Western Downs Alliance v Minister for the Environment & Santos Limited

By Western Downs Alliance Inc

Campaign Completed on
02-10-2016

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A little bit of context

The Western Downs Alliance has commenced legal proceedings which will challenge the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt's, approval of 6,100 CSG wells in Queensland.

The Santos GLNG Gas Field Development Expansion extends across almost 1 million hectares of land, from Roma east to Taroom and Wandoan, and north towards Rolleston.

But there’s a problem

The community group has lodged a case in the Federal Court of Australia against the approval under the national environmental law, arguing that the Minister’s approval was unlawful because he ignored plans by Santos to discharge large volumes of CSG waste water into the Dawson River.

The Independent Expert Scientific Committee advised that there is considerable scientific uncertainty about potential impacts on surface and groundwater from the project:

  • Reduced water supply to important springs of the Great Artesian Basin
  • Cumulative impacts on groundwater pressures
  • Impacts from wastewater discharge into the Dawson River
  • Changes to groundwater and surface water quality

The people of Qld are sick and tired of CSG companies riding roughshod over farmers and communities, and putting long-term water supplies and food production under threat.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

We have launched this challenge because we believe Minister Hunt’s approval is unlawful. This case is the first of its kind.

Minister Hunt assessed and approved this development under the Water Trigger that was put into the national environmental law in June 2013 specifically to protect our water resources from large coal and CSG development.

However, in this case it appears from the documents that Minister Hunt didn’t assess the impact that the inevitable release of large volumes of waste water from the CSG project into the Dawson River would have.

We’re determined to test whether this approval was given lawfully, and to act in the interests of landholders and water resources in our region.

The next step in our case is crucial - we have asked the Minister to provide all of the documents that he relied upon to make his decision to approve the project.

You can join us

Legal representation and court action is expensive. The government and multinationals love that, it keeps us in our places.

We have the team at the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) acting on our behalf.

We need $20 000 to reach the first milestone.

Legal representation and court action is expensive. The government and multinationals love that, it keeps us in our places.

Join us by contributing to this fighting fund.

The funds we raise here will go directly to this important test case. This is the first CSG case brought under national environmental laws to challenge the application of the Water Trigger.

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Team Members

Sarah Moles

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