PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Northern Territory government has opened up the first environment management plan (EMP) for onshore shale gas exploration drilling for public comment.
The proposed drilling, to be undertaken by oil and gas giant Santos, will be the first since the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory was lifted.
Santos’ EMP for its 2019 drilling programme will be open for a 28-day consultation period.
The EMP is an activity specific plan that must show all environmental impacts and risks have been considered and appropriate environmental management practices implemented.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said this week that the government is restoring trust and certainty through the implementation of a robust, clear and transparent set of rules and guidelines around how the environment must be protected in accordance with all 135 recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing
“This government is making it easier to invest in the Territory as these reforms will ensure our unique environment and the jobs that rely on it are protected, while also providing further opportunities for investment and new jobs for the Territory, protecting the environment creates jobs, and good environmental policy is smart economic policy,” Lawler said.
“Providing the community with a legislative right to have their say on the approval of an EMP relating to drilling or fracking will help restore trust and transparency - a process that did not exist under the previous government.”
Interested parties may submit written comments on the EMP during the consultation period and the Minister will consider these comments in deciding whether to approve an EMP.
All EMP decisions will be published on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.