Media Release 28th February 2014


More than 600 farmers and residents gathered in Narrabri last night to hear Wyoming Rancher, John Fenton, describe the devastating impacts of unconventional gas mining on his water, his farming business and his family.

This followed a protest action in the Pilliga earlier in the afternoon where several hundred farmers gathered to oppose the fast-track for the Narrabri coal seam gas project announced last week by Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner.

"The farmers of north-west NSW sent a very strong message yesterday - our water resources, our culture and our environment are too precious to risk and we will stand up to protect our region from dangerous coal seam gas mining," said north west cotton farmer Jeff Carolan.

"Last night we heard how drilling for unconventional gas in Wyoming poisoned water supplies and ruined the health of farming families and communities.

"We are not prepared to accept those impacts in our region and that's why we voted unanimously last night on a resolution to oppose the Narrabri CSG project," he said.

"The announcement of the fast track of the Narrabri Gas Project by the NSW Government last week was a slap in the face for farmers already grappling with a severe drought" said Phil Herbert, a farmer from the Gunnedah region.

"We feel that we have been treated with contempt by the political parties who have been elected to represent us.

"We are demanding that the National Party and all levels of government reconsider their approach to this issue and that they urgently adopt a new policy that accepts farmers concerns and puts a stop to CSG mining in NSW" he said.

Higher resolution photos available on request



Click the image to go to the recordings.


The Lock the Gate Alliance has described the NSW Government’s decision to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to designate the controversial Narrabri gas project in the Pilliga forest a “Strategic Energy Project” as a deep betrayal of farmers and the bush that will intensify conflict in North West NSW.

Lock the Gate National Coordinator, Phil Laird said, “Farmers in the North West will be gutted by this move by the NSW Government to fast-track Santos plans for a massive CSG field in our region, while we are facing a potentially crippling drought.

"To have the NSW Government back a project in this way before it has even been assessed for its impact on groundwater and the environment is not only irresponsible, it is a betrayal of farming and rural communities.

"This deal was signed in secret, without any chance for the community to comment or have any input.  It is a perversion of our democracy, and another example of how political donations from coal seam gas companies are distorting proper processes in this country.

“Already, farmers have been forced to take direct action to protect the groundwater that is the lifeblood of the North West.

"This move from the Government is a clear signal that there will be no due process when it comes to coal seam gas in our region: we’re on our own, and we will have to keep fighting for our livelihoods and our country" he said.

Eight people have been arrested blockading Santos’ Narrabri exploration project in the Pilliga forest in the last ten days, including several farmers.


Front: Denise Murray (Narrabri), Helen Revell (Wee Waa), Nola McPherson (Narrabri)and Stuart Murray (Narrabri), back Penny Blatchford (obscured, Bellata), Barry McPherson (Narrabri), Angus Hamilton (Wee Waa), Rob Blatchford (Gurley), Kay Durham (Narrabri), Brett Findlay (spring Creek), Eleanor Refell (Wee Waa), Bruce Kirkby (Millie), Alex O'Neil (Bald Hill), Geoff O'Neill (Bald Hill), Phoebe O'Neill (Bald Hill) Kim Revell (Wee Waa), Angus Vickery (Bellata), Ron Campey (Edgeroi), Brett Sanders (Bomera), Gloria Campey (Edgeroi), Peter Bussell (Narrabri) and Sarah Ciesiolka (Wee Waa)


120 local farmers and community members protest Santos CSG in the Pilliga

120 farmers and community members from across the NSW North West spent this morning protesting Santos coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga, travelling to the site from Bellata, Coonamble, Spring Plain, Wee Waa, Coonabarrabran, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Mullaley, Tambar Spring, Narrabri, Edgeroi and more. 

The group participated in protests at the site of a coal seam gas waste water pipeline laying operation, and a blockade of the access road to a coal seam gas drill rig, disrupting Santos' activities for hours. 

The attached photos taken on a farmer's mobile phone. Two police visited the site of the protests but no arrests were made. 

Tambar Springs farmer David Quince was on site and said, "It was tremendous to see the huge numbers of farmers in the Pilliga today, turning up to demonstrate the strong and widespread local opposition Santos coal seam gas fields spreading across the North West.

"The Santos workers abandoned the site of the coal seam gas water pipeline laying operations when they knew there were 120 locals on their way to protest. 

"Santos should abandon their plans for the Narrabri Gas Project and any other projects all together."

Spring Plain farmer Kim Revell joined the swelling numbers, concerned about encroachment of gasfields onto farmland and damage to the groundwater aquifers that support communities across the north west of the state.
Ms Revell said, “The water under the Pilliga, recharged in this forest, supports the entire region, and that’s why people have come from across the region to risk arrest to stop Santos from drilling into the Pilliga again.”
“I’m representing my fellow Spring Plains farmers, my neighbours and family here today, who have clearly said we do not want the encroachment of coal seam gas fields onto farmlands or across our water supplies.  

Edgeroi farmer Geoff O'Neill participated in his first protest in the Pilliga today. "My main concern is the possible damage that coal seam gas poses to the underground water supply. If our groundwater is polluted we are in deep trouble."

The growing numbers of local community members protesting in the Pilliga today comes after seven people were arrested in the Pilliga in recent for blocking Santos' drill rig. 


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