A flare burning on Curtis Island as part of shut down work at Santos GLNG in 2019.
A flare burning on Curtis Island as part of shut down work at Santos GLNG in 2019.

Environmentalists fear Santos smoke move can’t be monitored

GLADSTONE Environmentalists have raised concerns proposed changes to the Santos Environmental Authority would be near impossible to hold to account.

Santos GLNG has applied to amend a condition which authorises five minutes of black smoke during any two-hour period for certain flaring events to allow for an additional 30 to 90 minutes of visible smoke to be produced during daylight hours per event, up to seven hours a year and 14 events per year.

Gladstone Conservation Council co-ordinator Anna Hitchcock claimed under the proposed change the only way to monitor Santos would be through expensive static film equipment.

"It's just not going to be possible for the community to work out whether they're complying," Ms Hitchcock claimed.

In the past, the Gladstone Conservation Council has encouraged residents to share videos and photos the flares and smoke produced by Santos on Curtis Island, which in 2019 resulted in the company being fined more than $13,000.

She said Santos should be made to comply with the conditions set out in the original Environmental Authority.

Ms Hitchcock claimed QGC had set a precedent when it changed its environmental authority in 2018.

She said in Santos's case there had not been enough breaches to warrant the reduction in conditions.

"It' very frustrating that the community needs to make complaints in order for companies to do the right thing," she said.

The Gladstone Conservation Council has a pre-filled submission to oppose Santos' EA amendment.

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