The Lock the Gate Alliance released the statement below on July 6.
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Coal seam gas companies are 'getting away with blue murder' despite mounting evidence from around the country of the environmental damage they are causing, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
Lock The Gate has responded with dismay to news today that Santos and Eastern Star Gas have been fined only $3,000 for breaking environment laws in the Pilliga forest by polluting a local creek system with coal seam gas waste water.
“The pattern of environmental damage, blanket denial by gas companies, government inaction and then weak and inadequate penalties that has occurred in the Pilliga is being repeated in coal seam gas operations across the country,” said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.
“This is a classic example of everything that is wrong with coal seam gas regulation in Australia.
“Both Eastern Star Gas and Santos have been pinged for polluting creeks in the Pilliga, despite repeated denials on their part, but all they have got for it is a dainty little slap over the wrist.
“Three thousand dollars is chicken feed to a coal seam gas company and this penalty today basically gives the green light to coal seam gas companies to do their worst to our precious water resources.
“This is a nod and a wink to coal seam gas companies that no matter how bad their practices, they will never be held to account in any serious way. It puts coal seam gas companies above the environment, above communities and above the law.
“We are seeing exactly the same pattern in Queensland, except that there the government has not even made it to first base and actually issued any penalties (however weak) to gas companies.
“This is one more event in a litany of problems with coal seam gas in Australia, which have included negative health outcomes for adjoining landholders, methane bubbling through rivers, and extensive spills of toxic water. We need a moratorium now.”