Eight leading industry experts have been selected to deliver further independent assessment of Santos’ proposed coal seam gas project, the Narrabri Gas Project.
Director of Resource Assessments, Mike Young, said eight experts have been engaged to review Santos’ Environmental Impact Statement and provide independent advice and recommendations to the Department of Planning and Environment.
The experts will provide advice on economic impacts, land-use safety hazards and risks, cultural heritage and social impacts. A four-member Water Expert Panel chaired by Professor Peter Cook from the University of Melbourne will advise on water-related impacts.
They will also consider issues raised in submissions made by the community, including expert reviews undertaken by or on behalf of special interest groups.
“The level of community interest in this project is significant and we feel it’s important to seek independent advice from some of Australia’s top scientists in considering the projects’ potential impacts,” Mr Young said.
“This builds on the work done by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer in her review of coal seam gas activities in 2014, with some of the same experts now providing advice on the Narrabri Gas Project.
“It is clear from the submissions that farmers and the broader community are particularly concerned about the potential impacts of the project on groundwater resources, including the Great Artesian Basin.
“The Department has set up the Water Expert Panel to examine these concerns in detail, and the members of the panel will be meeting local landowners and special interest groups during August to ensure they understand the concerns being raised.”
Mr Young said that the Department will also be considering detailed advice from a range of government experts within the Department of Primary Industries, the Environment Protection Authority, and the Office of Environment and Heritage.