'Double standard'

NOT FINE WITH ME: Armidale environmental activist Pat Schultz, who locked on to a truck in the Pilliga State Forest in April, says her $1800 fine for protesting coal seam gas activities exposes a double standard.

NOT FINE WITH ME: Armidale environmental activist Pat Schultz, who locked on to a truck in the Pilliga State Forest in April, says her $1800 fine for protesting coal seam gas activities exposes a double standard.

AN ARMIDALE grandmother locks herself to a truck in the Pilliga State Forest in protest at the coal seam gas industry and is fined $1800.

A massive energy and gas company’s leaking storage pond contaminates an aquifer with heavy metals, such as uranium, and is fined $1500. 

Pat Schultz, who this week fronted Narrabri Local Court and copped her whack for breaking the law, has said the case exposes a double standard.

The 63-year-old does not regret for a second her actions on April 4 this year, when she spent about four hours in the mud locked-on to the truck.

But she said her financial penalty merely emphasised the inadequacy of the NSW Environmental Protection Authority’s response to Santos’s failings.

“I think it’s disgraceful,” she said. “I’m a part-time worker on a relatively low income and I got fined $1800.

“But Santos is a multi-billion-dollar company and they got fined less than me for doing something that’s a million times worse.

“Look, honestly, I kind of knew that was going to happen, but it doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.”

Ms Schultz said despite her arrest – her first such brush with the law – she would continue to campaign against Santos’s plans to drill 850 wells at Narrabri.

“I think I will,” she said. “I’m still extremely concerned about what’s happening out there and I won’t be pulling back.”

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