The Fullerton Cove case, NSW - Coal Seam Gas

The Fullerton Cove case, NSW - Coal Seam Gas

In 2012 EDO NSW represented residents of Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle, who challenged the approval of a coal seam gas (CSG) pilot project.

The residents group went to NSW Land and Environment Court because they were concerned that there had been no groundwater assessment, and a full Environmental Impact Statement should have been pre- pared to assess impacts on biodiversity and groundwater.

The CSG project was located on a floodplain, next to an internationally-listed wetland and with wells that would continuously extract gas and water from depths of 800-900 meters for at least 12 months.

The group won an historic injunction, the first granted by the NSW Environment Court, halting the exploratory CSG drilling until the court case was heard. The residents’ legal challenge was eventually dis- missed by the court. But, shortly afterwards, Dart Energy, announced that it would suspend the project due to proposed new government controls for CSG.

The Court ordered that, even though they lost the case, the residents should not have to pay the legal costs of the Department of Trade & Investment, which was involved in the case in support of the company. The Court found that the case “epitomises the very concept of litigation properly brought in the public interest.”