Morrison government dig us deeper into climate crisis by approving $3.6 billion Narrabri gas project

A $3.6 billion gas project set to drill up to 850 wells in Narrabri grazing and forest land has been given the green light by the federal government.

In not so shocking news, the Morrison government has controversially given environmental approval for the $3.6 billion Narrabri gas project to go ahead.

On Tuesday, environment minister Sussan Ley said she was satisfied that the biodiversity of the Pilliga Forest would be safeguarded by standards put in place for the project, which was initially proposed by Santos.

Sussan Ley and Scott Morrison
Photo: Mark Jesser

The final approval from the government was the last major regulatory obstacle they faced, as Santos met the 134 conditions put forward by the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC), which approved the project in September.

The site would see up to 850 wells drilled at least a kilometre down into the Earth and would extract 200 terajoules of gas a day, which is equivalent to 50% of the NSW demand. Furthermore, 1,000 hectares of land would be affected by the project and environmentalists believe the project will threaten groundwater and further fuel the climate crisis.

Unfortunately, Australia’s environment laws do not require Ley to take into consideration the climate change impacts of burning fossil fuels extracted from these projects.

The only thing the government seemed to be concerned about was the creation of more jobs, as deputy premier, John Barilaro, said: “We want to create a thriving energy hub in Narrabri focused on value-added production and manufacturing to power long-term job opportunities across the region.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt said in response to the approval “cracking open the Narrabri gas wells, Sussan Ley is opening the floodgates for decades of climate damage, while locking Australia’s industries into a fuel that has passed its use-by date.” 

Even the Climate Council have condemned the project with climate scientist Prof Will Steffen saying: “In green lighting the Narrabri gas project, the federal government shows a lack of care for the families, farmers and wildlife who need a safe climate to survive.

“Australians have suffered through a horror year of scorching heatwaves, devastating droughts and unprecedented bushfires. This is the cost of continuing to mine and burn gas and other fossil fuels.”