"My grandfather fought in the Somme and my father fought in the Pacific to defend our country and I've spent three times longer than any of them in war trying to defend Narrabri, and I just find that quite outrageous."
Rohan Boehm has spent 12 years campaigning against the Narrabri Gas Project, a period longer than both world wars put together. Millions of hours "wasted" doing his best to stop a scheme which, he says, has no economic viability, environmental justification or social licence.
"The detractors would say you're a bunch of greenies, you're a bunch of radicals, well in fact, we're not, we're the conservatives."
Decades after Eastern Star Gas struck gold in the Pilliga, the $3.6 billion plan by parent company Santos to exploit the natural resource is finally approaching the final stages of development approval.
The project has split apart community groups, and sporting clubs, built and destroyed friendships, ruined or made businesses, said Mr Boehm.
With the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) closing public hearings on Saturday, Narrabri is in for an anxious wait.
If it gets the green light, the plan would see the construction of as many as 850 coal-seam-gas wells in and around the Pilliga forest.
Opponents of the controversial project worry it would contaminate water aquifers, smash endangered species, set bushfires and wreck the planet through climate change.
Gas supporter Russell Stewart, Narrabri Chamber of Commerce President, said he only took over the position six years ago because his predecessor was "bullied out" by "anti-groups" for supporting gas.
"We've have businesses that have been threatened by the anti-coal-seam-gas groups. We've had members of chamber that have had anti-coal-seam-gas people verbally attack them, and verbally attack their businesses."
Mr Stewart, who said a majority of the opposition to the project had come from out of town, said activists descended on the small town during the IPC process.
"We've had people from all over the state and all over the country here; they've been travelling from the cities. We're concerned about COVID stuff. They don't seem to have any regard to that. They're just single-mindedly turning up to push a point.
"Clearly the health and the future of our towns don't mean much to them.
"Their sole purpose here is to disrupt and tell a story, true or not."
He warned landowners who oppose the gas of a "slippery slope". Without a major resources project to protest, local green groups will turn to their next target: agriculture.
But for years local farmers have been among the loudest voices against the proposed project.
She told the IPC fear of the gas scheme has stopped her expanding her $50 million local agribusiness.
Ms Ciesiolka said Narrabri is a community divided, even down to local clubs. She said the Santos debate had even made its way to a local ruby club, when the company offered the kid's team sponsorship.
"A number of parents expressed their displeasure at that. They did not want their children running around in a Santos rugby jumper. And I think that's absolutely fair enough," she said.
Santos denied they had ever had a donation from their $28 million community investment and sponsorship program refused for political reasons.
"Our presence in local communities makes a positive and lasting impact," a spokesperson said.
Nonetheless many opponents of the gas project are critical of the role the company and its donations to community groups have within the town.
Mr Boehm said what had been a reasonably cohesive community 13 years ago when he moved to Narrabri isn't any longer.
"When a community falls apart over these sorts of issues it pervades everything that happens, everything," he said.
"People have had significant mental health issues over it."
There are businesses people won't visit because they back Santos, he said, with people allegedly being told they can't play for sporting teams because they work for Santos, or because they're prominent opponents of the company.
"The fabric of communities is how the whole community pulls together. One of the benefits of living in country towns is that you know everyone. That's actually an incredibly powerful thing. But when it goes the opposite direction that power is capable of really impacting on people's wellbeing and their physical and mental health."
In 2018 opponents of the project conducted a door-to-door survey of the Narrabri community. After over 800 conversations they said well over half the community flat out don't want the project, with over 90 per cent instead backing renewables.
In 2014 the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group Incorporated conducted a survey, which showed 97 per cent opposition, a number that is often cited by opponents.
But there's no division on Narrabri Shire Council.
Mayor Catherine Redding, a very prominent supporter of the project, said the council last year voted unanimously to "recognise the economic benefits of the project."
"As with any major project, there is always a variety of opinions, feelings and perspectives within the community," she said.
"The Vickery coal mine and Inland Rail are no different. Regardless of opinions, our community throughout the assessment process has been able to respectfully express their views."
In a statement she completely rejected claims of community division.
"Arguments between neighbours and allegations that relatives no longer speak to each other any more couldn't be further from the truth," she said.
"My community is sick of being told how we feel about things and lobby groups trying to stir up trouble.
"Our community has been discussing the CSG debate over the past decade and the community sentiment is support for the project."
When asked if their community donations were intended to buy support for the project, a spokesperson for Santos said they are "proud to be active and positive community members in regional communities across Australia".
"We are focussed on five pillars of social investment, being healthy living, stronger regional communities, training and education, closing the gap with Indigenous communities, and environment and climate change. All of these things deliver social benefits for the communities where we operate."
Asked if the project has divided Narrabri and what the company will do to heal the division, the company said they are a "welcome and important part of the Narrabri community".
"We believe we enjoy strong support in the local community."
For the Narrabri Gas Project, D-Day is September 4. The IPC must make a decision before then.
All four of the locals the Leader spoke to for this story agreed on two things.
They all spoke very highly of the IPC staff, widely praised as extraordinarily professional.
And everyone can't wait to see the back of the exhausting process they conducted.
Some are concerned about the effect the massively publicised national debate is having on Narrabri's reputation.
Steve Eather, a third generation farmer who lives near Tarriaro, said it's annoying that the town is almost best known for the CSG project.
"Certainly us who are pro the gas would just like to see it happen," he said.
But Mr Stewart said there's more to Narrabri than the famous gas project.
"It's not on our mind everyday," he said.
"It's on our mind a lot at the moment, but it's not a daily thought."
Both of them were confident the IPC would approve the scheme.
But Mr Boehm said he was hoping his 12 year campaign will have carried the day.
"I hope they [Narrabri] throw their hats in the air and say thank God this project isn't going ahead. That would be a cause for very significant celebration for many, many, many years," he said.
But like most wars, Mr Boehm's campaign hasn't left him without the camaraderie forged through battle.
"Across this whole region there are some incredibly strong new friendships that have been formed. I know lots of people in nearby towns that I didn't know before. Hundreds of people I know, personally."
If the scheme does win approval from the IPC, opponents have already vowed to take direct action to stop the development from taking place.