Australian Indigenous traditional owners halt gas drilling

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Indigenous traditional owners have won a court challenge that prevents an energy company from drilling for gas off Australia’s north coast. The Federal Court decision on Wednesday against Australian oil and gas company Santos Ltd. is a major win for Indigenous rights. The traditional owner of the Tiwi Islands, Dennis Murphy Tipakalippa, had challenged the regulator’s approval of Santos’ $3.6 billion plan to drill the Barossa Field beneath the Timor Sea. Justice Mordy Bromberg quashed the February decision by the regulator to allow the drilling. Tipakalippa had argued that the regulator could not be “reasonably satisfied,” as required by law, that Santos had carried out consultations about its drilling plans.