Caroona coal mine fails Gateway: Now government must lock the gate

MEDIA RELEASE – 11 July 2014 

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining and agriculture, Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to lock the gate on the Caroona Coal mine after the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel found that the proposed coal mine would have direct and significant impacts on strategic agricultural land and highly productive groundwater on the Liverpool Plains. He called for Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to step in if the NSW Government fails to act.

“The Gateway Panel report is damning and clearly fails this mine proposal as totally unviable if we want to protect our best agricultural land on the Liverpool Plains,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This coal mine has failed 6 out of 6 critical criteria, indicating that mining coal under our most productive cropping and and important water resources is a terrible idea.

“Given the Gateway does not have the power to actually refuse an application, the NSW government should tell BHP to withdraw the proposal for the Caroona coal mine.  There seems little point in going through to a full Environmental Impact Statement given the major flaws the Gateway Panel has found.

“If the NSW Government fails to act then it is incumbent on federal Agriculture Minister and local member, Barnaby Joyce to intervene.

“If Barnaby Joyce can’t protect the best cropping land in Australia, in his own electorate, from being destroyed by a coal mine then he’ll have proven himself as useless as tits on a bull.

“Too often Barnaby Joyce expresses his concern, but fails to act.  Barnaby now sits at the federal cabinet table, there are no more excuses for inaction.  It’s time to save the Liverpool Plains from coal mining.

“Given other coal mines are closing down due to low coal prices and falling demand, it seems crazy to propose a new mine that endangers some of the best cropping land on our continent,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

 

The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel found that the Caroona coal project fails 6 out of 6 relevant criteria with regard to impacts on Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land with:

 

  1. Potentially significant impacts on the land through surface area  disturbance and subsidence.
  2. Potentially significant impacts on soil fertility, effective rooting depth or soil drainage.
  3. Potentially significant increases in land surface micro-relief, soil salinity, rock outcrop, slope and surface rockiness or significant changes to soil pH.
  4. Significant impacts on highly productive groundwater (within the meaning of the Aquifer Interference Policy).
  5. Potentially significant fragmentation of agricultural land uses.
  6. Reduction in the area of biophysical strategic agricultural land cannot be determined.

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