Maules Creek mine approval an act of environmental vandalism

MEDIA RELEASE – 25 October 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining has condemned the approval of the Maules Creek coal mine by a Planning Assessment Commission today, saying the mine would be an act of environmental vandalism and represented a failure of the O’Farrell Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.

“This mine will destroy the Leard Forest, an area previously classified as Tier One biodiversity land in the draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plan for the North West,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The Coalition promised before the election that they would protect ‘sensitive environments’ from mining, but here we have the last remnant woodland on the Liverpool Plains being destroyed for Nathan Tinkler’s open cut coal mine.

“Local farmers will be distraught at this decision and will question whether the National Party is there to represent the bush or the big mining companies and large coal barons?

“The PAC has somehow convinced itself that a 500 metre corridor of forest between the Maules Creek mine and Boggabri coal mine is adequate environmental safeguard, but the reality is a farce that suggests our planning system is broken.

“The Leard Forest was meant to enjoy a level of protection under the Brigalow and Nandewar Community Conservation Area Act 2005 for its ecological significance. Any mining in the area should be underground mining so as to preserve the forest as much as possible. By approving open cut mining, the PAC has undone the NSW Parliament’s intention.

“The 13 million tonnes of coal per year from this mine will contribute to dangerous climate change. NSW should be phasing out coal, not allowing Nathan Tinkler to destroy a forest,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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