An Australian court set aside the federal government’s approval for  major gas company Santos Limited’s drilling plans in the Timor Sea, north of the island nation, ruling in favor of Dennis Tipakalippa, an indigenous leader from the Tiwi islands. Indigenous rights activists view it as an important precedent in court battles where Indigenous groups are fighting for their right to deny extractive projects impacting their territories. Tipakalippa and other community members argued they were not properly consulted about the drilling plans for the $US3.6 billion Barossa gas project. The extractive activities could threaten the Tiwi peoples’ food sources, culture and way of life. “They think they can just go ahead with drilling our sea country without even talking to us,” Tipakalippa said in a statement. Tiwi Islanders protesting the Barossa gas project. Image courtesy of Rebecca Parker. To be able to start drilling, Santos submitted an environmental plan for approval to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA). The judge ruled that NOPSEMA should not have approved Santos’ drilling off the Tiwi Islands. This is because Santos’ environmental plans were developed without proper consultation with all the relevant stakeholders. The Tiwi Islands lie about 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) north of the Australian city of Darwin and are home to around 3,000, primarily Aboriginal people. The Barossa gas field lies further offshore, about 265 kilometers (about 165 miles) northwest of Darwin and 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the Tiwi islands. “We spend a lot of time…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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