A DATE has been set for Santos and People for the Plains to battle it out in court.
The two-day court case will by heard by the NSW Land and Environment Court on April 6 and April 8.
The local anti-coal seam gas (CSG) group will argue the approval for the gas company’s Leewood facility in the Pilliga forest is illegal.
Under NSW planning laws, CSG explorations works don’t need development consent.
People for the Plains say the Leewood wastewater treatment plant should not be considered part of the exploration work and therefore should not bypass the state planning laws.
The group will be represented by the Environmental Defenders Officer (EDO) NSW.
EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said the full case for People for the Plains would be heard and it would be up to Santos to defend against the allegations.
“This case is about ensuring that the proper laws and development assessment processes are followed in approving such development,” Ms Higginson said.
“While the Leewood water treatment plant will receive wastewater from the CSG activities in the Pilliga, it is not for the purpose of CSG exploration and should not be able to proceed without development consent.
“There is a real question whether the Leewood facility is even allowed on the land at all when the local planning laws are considered as they ought to have been.”