‘Neutral or beneficial effect’ test should rule out CSG and coal mining in catchment

Menangle Park drillng

MEDIA RELEASE - 2 June 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that coal seam gas should remain prohibited in the Sydney Catchment Area and coal mining should be phased out, and that the ‘neutral or beneficial effect’ test for development in the area should be adhered to, after the Chief Scientist and Engineer Mary O’Kane reported on the issue.

The report recognises there is difficulty in assessing the cumulative impacts of mining in the Sydney Water Catchment area, but says water treatment filtering is sufficient to protect Sydney’s drinking water supplies.

“While filtration of Sydney’s water supply may be sufficient at the moment, that does not mean we should not be concerned with protecting our drinking water catchment areas from pollution or damage,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The Sydney Catchment Authority requires all development within the catchment area to have a ‘neutral or beneficial’ effect on water quality.  This is clearly not the case with either coal seam gas or longwall coal mining, and they should not be allowed to damage this important area.

“Yes, we have technologies that can filter the crap out of the water, but that doesn’t mean we should allow the pollution of our water catchments.  They should be protected, particularly when the cumulative impacts of resources extraction are not well known.

“The government has a choice.  It can prioritise clean water, or it can prioritise dirty mining and coal seam gas activities.  Barry O’Farrell knew this and promised the Coalition would rule out mining in drinking water catchments – no ifs, no buts, a guarantee.

“The Greens have introduced a Private Members Bill entitled the Responsible Mining (Protecting Land, Water and Communities) Bill, which amongst other things will prohibit mining in drinking water catchments.”

Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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