The Northern Territory Government has accepted the first Environment Management Plan (EMP) for onshore shale gas exploration since its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was lifted.

The Santos QNT Ltd McArthur Basin EP 161 Drilling Program 2019 has been published and the 28 day consultation period is now open.

The EMP is an activity specific plan that must show all environmental impacts and risks have been considered and appropriate environmental management practices implemented, acknowledging all 135 recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing.

The Petroleum (Environment) Regulations require the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources to publish an EMP for public comment, where the activity involves drilling of a petroleum well or hydraulic fracturing.

Interested parties may submit written comments on the EMP during the consultation period and the Minister will consider these comments in deciding whether to approve an EMP.

“These reforms will ensure our unique environment and the jobs that rely on it are protected, while also providing further opportunities for investment and new jobs for the Territory – protecting the environment creates jobs, and good environmental policy is smart economic policy,” the Northern Territory Minister for Environment and Natural, Eva Lawler, said.

“I thank Santos for submitting its EMP and encourage the community to have a look at it and provide their comments so I can make a fully informed decision.”

All EMP decisions will be published on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) website, including a statement of reasons outlining why the decision was made.

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