Last minute fracking approval must be revoked

Media Release, 2 September 2016

What the frack? Lightning fast fracking approval in the dying days of the Giles Government

The Giles Government and the NT Department of Mines will be under legal scrutiny after a controversial fracking approval was granted after just four business days of assessment, and just four days before the Territory election.

Origin Energy has been granted rights to hydraulically fracture a shale gas well on Amungee Mungee Station, east of Daly Waters. According to the assessment document, the process will take 60-90 days and require the construction of four holding dams and millions of litres of polluted flow back fluid.

“This last minute fracking approval is a slap in the face to Territorians and shows how out of touch the Giles Government was until its dying day,” said Naomi Hogan of the NT Lock the Gate Alliance.

“The NT Department of Mines of Energy has acted against the sentiment of Territorians, who voted against fracking and for water protection.

“This rushed approval flies in the face of everything we were being told about the so called robust regulatory regime for fracking.

“The turn around time of just four business days raises serious questions about the robustness off the assessment process by the Mines and Energy Department.

“A decision as significant as this should have waited until after the election.

“This approval never went out for public consultation and could hardly have been seen by a scientific expert with a turn around time of just four business days for approval.

“As early rains hit the Gulf of Carpentaria today, Origin proposes to have millions of litres of toxic flowback fluids in holding dams at the site, which could overflow in a flooding event.

“Chief Minister Michael Gunner and his team must act as swiftly as possible to implement their promise to halt shale gas fracking activities in the Territory.

“People across the Territory will be watching closely how our new Chief Minister Michael Gunner deals with this issue.

“The Lock the Gate Alliance is also seeking legal advice to review this hasty fracking decision.

Rod Dunbar has owned and lived on the neighbouring Nutwood Downs Station, a family-run cattle property, for 33 years. He faces the prospect of a major gas field being built by Origin Energy on his land.

“Drilling hundreds of gas wells on our station would be devastating to the business and personally – this is all we’ve got and we’d have to pack up and leave,” Mr Dunbar said.

“We wouldn’t be able to run cattle, the fracking would destroy the water bed, and it isn’t a precise science – they can’t guarantee our safety.

“I don’t see how the government can allow the destruction of the land and have no accountability – it’s totally unacceptable.”

See the 20 page Origin fracking plan summary

See the approval note dated 23 August at the bottom of the list here