NSW farmers win case against energy giant

Farmers in northwest NSW have enjoyed a legal victory, with energy giant Santos being forced to hand over water monitoring data by the end of next month.

Farming group Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord Inc (MGPA) in May took legal action to gain access to the information.

The action followed the contamination of freshwater bores on the property of a farmer, whose land adjoins a site used for exploratory CSG drilling, in the Pilliga Forest, near Narrabri.

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) of NSW said he was advised by Santos in 2012 that the bore water was unfit for drinking and domestic use.

Another bore, closer to the CSG site, has also shown effects of possible contamination.

Santos agreed in the NSW Land and Environment Court on Monday to provide the data.

"Santos now has until 31 October 2014 to comply with the court order to provide the requested data and documents relevant to potential groundwater contamination in and around the property," EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said.

Santos has big plans for its $1.2 billion Narrabri gas project, which it says could provide half of NSW's gas needs.

A Santos spokeswoman said the company was confident there was no connection between the bacteria in Mr Pickard's bore and its operations.

Santos would provide the required documents to the EDO by the end of next month, she said.

"At all times, Santos has acted in good faith with the information requested by the EDO," the spokeswoman said.

Writing on the fracking wall

You cannot draw water for consumption by any creature from bores around an area which has been subject to fracking due to the seepage of pollutants. This is a message which is failing to penetrate the heads of those who are in charge but not having to actually drink the water which is contaminated by only they know what. A big tanker should be provided to draw water from these bores to serve the drinking needs of the CEO's and politicians who think this practice is safe enough to profit from. The damage from this willfull poisioning will never go away and we need to immediately stop it in this country.

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