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The Guardian:

The federal minister for resources and water, Keith Pitt, will press ahead on plans to open up the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory to fracking by giving taxpayer money to oil and gas companies despite a legal challenge to the government’s program.

Under the proposed Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program, Imperial Oil and Gas – a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire Energy that has close ties to the Liberal party – would be given $21m.

The legal basis of the program is being challenged in federal court by the Environment Centre NT (ECNT).

In a statement released on Tuesday, the minister for resources and water said he had asked his department to move ahead despite the legal threat.

“It is important that we continue to get on with the job,” Pitt said. “This project, along with other activity in the Beetaloo Basin, has the potential to create over 6,000 jobs and make a significant contribution to secure Australia’s affordable and reliable energy supplies.

[Royce Kurmelovs]

More: Keith Pitt moves ahead with plans to open up Beetaloo Basin to fracking despite legal threat

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