The Surfrider Foundation’s Annie Ford had to double-take when she opened an official-looking email from the offshore oil and gas regulator, NOPSEMA and stared at the number on the screen.
That was the final number of public submissions made against the plan to seismic blast an area of ocean the size of Tasmania, stretching from Tasmania itself right across to the South Australian border. The environment plan was submitted by Norwegian oil and gas exploration company TGS and if it went ahead would be the biggest blasting program of its kind in Australian waters.
Considering the public submission window is only 30 days, the response was remarkable. For comparison, during the Fight for the Bight – a huge international campaign – a similar process saw 31,500 people make submissions.
“I felt really inspired when I saw the final number last night,” reflects Annie, who has led Surfrider’s local campaign through months of local consultation. “This number can't be ignored, and it should be a slam dunk in terms of decision making. This should not be going ahead. What a fantastic reminder of the power of the people.”