A threat to health, water and Indigenous cultural heritage, or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create employment opportunities and economic investment in Narrabri.
The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has heard both sides of the debate of the controversial $3.6 billion Narrabri Gas Project in the first of seven days of public hearings.
It's the last stage before the IPC could potentially sign of on the bold project.
The first of 404 opponents and supporters of the scheme spoke on Monday, telling the commission the proposed mine would make or break the rural community.
President of the Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce Russell Stewart said local business is strongly in favor of the scheme.
He said he he has received call after call from out-of-town industry considering setting up shop in the community upon approval of the CSG project.
Mr Stewart told the commissioners the proposed project would help the community offer young people proper, quality jobs. The alternative, he said, was for them to simply pack up and leave Narrabri.
"This is a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this region," he said.
But Coonabarabran farmer David Chadwick told the commissioners the mine would render his 1000-head feedlot, which employs 25 locals, un-insurable.
"CSG is mother nature's melanoma," he told the IPC.
Mr Chadwick, who spoke for the Great Artesian Basin protection group, finished his submission by literally begging commissioners "to protect our water" from the gas project.
"If we don't have water or the water is poisonous, we don't have a business," he said.
Gomeroi Traditional Custodian Cathy Cragie told the IPC the Pilliga region has enormous traditional significance and is protected by Indigenous lore.
She said any development in the area by proponent Santos would desecrate the area and demonstrate the lack of concern government has for Aboriginal Australians.
Ms Cragie finished by quoting a famous Native American expression attributed to the Cree people.
"When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money," she said.
If approved, the Santos project would build 850 coal seam gas wells, many of them in the Pilliga State Forest. The project would be capable of providing as much as half the total state demand for the fossil fuel.
The public hearings continue on Tuesday.
The IPC will hear from a long list of environmental groups on Tuesday, including People for the Plains, SOS Liverpool Plains, and the Knitting Nannas Hunter Loop among others.
An unprecedented 404 people registered to have their say on the project, forcing the IPC to extend hearings to seven days.