Category Archives: Coal Mining

Science is in: Approval of new coal mines such as Bylong risks dangerous pollution and climate change

The NSW Government should update the terms of reference of the Independent Planning Commission to reflect the latest science and not allow the approval of any new thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW.

In the lead-up to the Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine in Mudgee tomorrow, the NSW Greens have called on the NSW Government to also rule out the Bylong coal mine and any new thermal coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline.

The recent IPCC report warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels for the best opportunity of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

If approved the Bylong coal mine would be licenced to operate until 2044, producing 343.2 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the tight time frame for halting and reversing rising emissions means NSW cannot delay action.

“The NSW Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought.

“It would be negligent and irresponsible for the NSW Government to allow the Bylong coal mine proposal to go ahead.

“The Bylong Valley is rich in natural beauty, fertile agricultural land and significant water and river resources. These are the lasting legacy we want to leave future generations, not dangerous pollution and out-of-control climate change,” Mr Buckingham said.

Details
What: Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine
When: 9am, Wednesday 7 November
Where: Parklands Resort and Conference Centre, Mudgee
More details:
https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/projects/2018/10/bylong-coal-project

📷: Lock the Gate Alliance

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan ignores science that new coal mines risk fuelling catastrophic climate change

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan should listen to the science and not give approval for any new coal mines or mine extensions for the best chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

The Minister donned the hard hat and visited the site of a proposed 135 megatonne extension of Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine this weekend, indicating support for more new coal mining in the Upper Hunter.

If approved the mine would operate over the next 30 years, producing 385 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Minister Canavan should not ignore the recent IPCC report that warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels or risk catastrophic levels of climate change.

“Minister Matthew Canavan and the Federal Government can’t keep pushing their outdated, pro-mining agenda on communities like Boggabri and the Upper Hunter. The Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There can be no new approvals for thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW. Vickery coal mine must be retired and rehabilitated, not thrown a lifeline for more coal production and pollution.

“Australia is becoming like the big tobacco companies, we keep pushing a product we know isn’t safe or healthy out into the market, regardless of the risk.

“The vested interests of the mining industry have too much power and influence over our Federal and NSW Liberal/National politicians. They are making decisions in the best interests of big mining companies, not what’s best in the long-term for communities and our natural environment.

“There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought. It is negligent and irresponsible for the Minister to allow the Vickery coal mine proposal to proceed.”

📷: Northern Daily Leader

NSW Govt refuses to acknowledge outstanding natural and agricultural values of Bylong Valley

The NSW Government today opposed a Greens motion in NSW Parliament to support the local community and recognise the natural and agricultural values of the Bylong Valley.

The motion proposed by NSW Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham listed the outstanding values of the valley and ended with a call to action:

That this House calls on the Minister for Planning to acknowledge the cultural, environmental and agricultural significance of the Bylong Valley and its importance to the community”.

NSW Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the NSW Government was so in thrall to the vested interests of the coal industry that it could not recognise even basic facts about what was at risk from coal mining.

“The NSW Government is so blinkered by the vested interests and donations from the mining industry that they are blind to the threats to our water, our land, our environment and our communities from coal mining,” he said.

“The undue influence of this toxic industry has now extended to the point where the Government won’t support in Parliament a simple statement of the beauty and productive landscape of the Bylong Valley.

“When we witness this level of capture in the Government, what hope do we have that the planning system will recognise the facts and act for the protection of the Bylong Valley?

“In these final days of the State Liberal/Nationals Government we are seeing numerous acts of environmental vandalism in a desperate attempt for votes from far-right voters.

“The Bylong Valley is no place for a coal mine. The Greens will stand with the community to protect the state-significant heritage values and high value agricultural land of the Valley,” he said.

 

NOTICE OF MOTION
Rejected 25 October 2018

 

Mr BUCKINGHAM says—
Mr PRESIDENT:
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:

 1.That this House notes that:
a.The beautiful Bylong Valley has been acknowledged as a landscape of state-significant heritage value by the Heritage Council of NSW;

b.The fertile Bylong Valley is the site of prime agricultural land and has a long history of agricultural production including thoroughbred horse breeding, sheep and cattle grazing;

c.Tarwyn Park in the productive Bylong Valley is the home and an outstanding model of the agricultural practice of Natural Sequence Farming. The pioneer of this innovative farming model was awarded an Order of Australia in 2011;

d.The rich Bylong Valley is a centre for lucerne hay production and fodder cropping, particularly vital in times of hardship and drought;

e.The precious Bylong Valley has significant groundwater, surface water and river resources which are vital for local landholders, communities and the environment; and

f.The attractive Bylong Valley is valued locally and by visitors alike for its outstanding natural beauty and landscapes.

2. That this House calls on the Minister for Planning to acknowledge the cultural, environmental and agricultural significance of the Bylong Valley and its importance to the community.

📷: Lock the Gate Alliance

 

 

Greens call for independent investigation of alleged mass wombat poisoning by Kepco at site of planned Bylong coal mine

The Greens are calling for the NSW Government to instigate an independent investigation of the inhumane mass poisoning of wombats by foreign-owned mining company KEPCO at a proposed mine site and whether it is fit-and-proper for a licence for mining.

The Newcastle Herald recently reported community complaints that KEPCO staff were directed to pour used sump and engine oil down wombat holes at the site of the proposed Bylong coal mine, blocking exits and suffocating the native animals.

An initial Office of Environment and Heritage review of the incident has not satisfied community concerns and the Greens are calling for a thorough, independent investigation of these allegations of cruelty and a cover-up by KEPCO.

NSW Greens MLC and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “It is vital we have an independent investigation to uncover the truth about KEPCO’s cruel and deadly wombat massacre at the site of its proposed Bylong coal mine and a potential cover up.

“KEPCO has form in dishonest dealings with authorities, including providing misleading photos of a mine site in the past.

“There’s no way a mining company should pass the ‘fit-and-proper’ test for operating a coal mine if it’s out poisoning wombats and then covering up its tracks. The majority of people would be disgusted by this disrespectful and brutal behaviour from a big foreign-owned mining company.

“The NSW Department of Planning has recommended approval of KEPCO’s Bylong coal mine only last week but the State Government should make it clear that it was not an endorsement for unethical treatment of wildlife and disregard for the environment and community concerns.

“How can the community trust that KEPCO will abide by laws put in place to protect water, wildlife, the environment and human health if it is proven they poisoned wildlife before final approval has even been given for the mine project.

“If an independent investigation finds KEPCO guilty of this atrocious incident and a cover up, the NSW Government should step up and not grant a licence for coal mining in the Bylong Valley,” he said.

📷: Lock the Gate

Greens’ bold plan for protecting Central Coast’s drinking water by placing National Park in path of controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine

The Greens will introduce an amendment to the NSW Government’s National Parks Bill in State Parliament today to declare the Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and protect the Central Coast’s drinking water catchment from the Wallarah 2 coal mine.

If the amendment is passed and Jilliby SCA gains upgraded protection as a National Park, it would prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine proposed for directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead. A separate amendment will also seek to declare Wyong State Forest as part of the ‘new’ Jilliby National Park. Mining is outlawed in National Parks.

The Wallarah 2 mine has faced long-standing local community opposition and the NSW Government’s own Planning Department found the site was sensitive to the Central Coast’s water supply.

Greens MLC and Resources Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said both the Liberal/Nationals and Labor had in the past promised the community they would oppose the Wallarah 2 mine, now they should act to deliver this protection.

“The controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine project poses massive threats to the future of the Central Coast’s drinking water and it’s ludicrous the plan hasn’t been thrown out before now,” he said.

“The IPCC report from last week was a call for action – the world must end coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. This means the government should not approve any new mines, let alone Wallarah 2 that threatens essential drinking water for the Central Coast community.

“The Greens have listened to the local community and will introduce an amendment in State Parliament aimed at declaring Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and stopping Wallarah 2 from going ahead.

“Central Coast Labor MPs Emma McBride and David Harris asked for Federal Government intervention to stop the mine.

“Prior to the 2011 NSW election, then Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and gave a ‘no ifs, no buts’ guarantee there would not be any mining in any water catchment.

“The NSW Government broke its promise and betrayed the community but it can do better.

“Both parties should take this chance provided by the Greens six months out from the State election of creating a valuable new National Park and putting a stop to Wallarah 2. If they can’t, then they should step aside for leaders who can better represent the interests of the Central Coast community over the vested interests of coal,” Mr Buckingham said.

BACKGROUND

• Greens introducing amendment to NSW Parliament to expand the National Park reservation estate to include the 12,159 hectares of the Jilliby State Conservation Area.

• Jilliby SCA provides critical habitat for over 150 native animal species, including 16 threatened species and more than 130 species of birds. It has outstanding natural values consistent with stronger protection as a National Park.

• If Jilliby SCA was upgraded to National Park protection, it would protect integrity of the water catchment that supplies drinking water for the people of the Central Coast – a projected population of almost half a million people (415,000) by 2036. In perspective, that’s a population greater than the whole of the ACT.

• The amendment will prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead.

• The Wallarah 2 Coal Project (W2CP) will involve operate for the next 28 years, in direct contravention of the IPCC report’s warning that for an end to coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

• Such is the risk posed by climate change that NSW should not be approving any new coal mines, let alone coal mines that threaten vital drinking water catchments.

• Prior to the 2011 State election, then Liberal leader, Mr Barry O’Farrell, famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and proclaimed that the Liberal Party would not allow coal mining to go ahead in that water catchment:

The next Liberal Government will ensure that mining cannot occur here. It will ensure that mining cannot occur in any water catchment area and will ensure that mining leases and mining exploration permits reflect that common sense, no ifs, no buts, a guarantee.

• In 2014, the Greens introduced a bill into NSW Parliament to enact the Liberal Party promise to stop the Wallarah 2 coalmine, but both the government and the Labor opposition refused to even allow debate on the bill.

• Seven years later, all parties now have an opportunity to deliver on this commitment to the people of the Central Coast through the inclusion of Jilliby.

📷: Newcastle Herald 

Greens challenge NSW Labor to lift ambition and end approval for new coal mines in NSW

The Greens have challenged NSW Labor to heed the warning contained in the IPCC Special Report released yesterday and rule out the approval of any new coal mines in NSW.

The international consensus report found coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.

On the same day, the NSW Department of Planning recommended the approval of the new Bylong coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

There is currently 1,881 million tonnes of coal either recently approved or in the planning pipeline in NSW. 778 million tonnes are from new mines, with 1,103 million tonnes from proposed expansions to existing mines. If all this coal were mined and burnt it would emit 5,381 million tonnes of C02.

Greens NSW Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The 778 million tonnes of coal proposed from new mines in NSW is a massive carbon emissions bomb poised to wreck our future.

“The IPCC made it clear that to avoid more than 1.5 degrees of global warming, most coal will need to stay in the ground.

“The vital question is whether NSW Labor is prepared to make the necessary decision to phase out coal. Will Labor recognise the scientific necessity and reject proposals for new coal mines or significant expansions of existing coal mines in NSW?

“While the IPCC was in South Korea announcing that the world had to rapidly phase out coal, the NSW Government was recommending approval for a new 120 million tonne South Korean owned coal mine

“The decision recklessly ignores the international scientific consensus that we need to end coal for a chance of keeping climate change impacts at safer levels.

“Meanwhile, the State Government is suffering policy paralysis on climate action. It has outsourced energy policy to the Federal Government, content to watch as climate deniers and the mining lobby hijack energy policy in a desperate bid to keep fossil fuels in the mix.

“Energy Minister Don Harwin continues to trot out the NSW’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 as the answer to everything, despite rising state emissions and no path for reaching the goal.

“The new report also shows the timeframe of 2050 misses the mark – parts of the NSW coast will be underwater, our agricultural sector will be shot and natural disasters will be on the rise without bold action.

“The next few years will lock in the future of our community and planet. If NSW’s current political leadership won’t take the urgent climate action needed, then they should stand aside for leaders who can.

“Labor should lift its ambition, listen to the community and work with the Greens for a safer, better climate future for NSW,” he said.

Greens’ analysis of new coal mining in NSW available here

IPCC Special Report means NSW must phase out coal within 10 years

The IPCC’s Special Report out today outlines a climate catastrophe of unprecedented scale and impact on our community and nature if global warming is permitted to rise by more than 1.5 degrees.

The scientific consensus found:

  • all coral reefs would be unlikely to survive global warming of 2 degrees, including the Great Barrier Reef;
  • sea level rise would be about 10cm less at 1.5 degrees; and
  • an increased risk of long-lasting or irreversible changes at 2 degrees, including the loss of more species and ecosystems.

In terms of fossil fuels, the report finds coal use for electricity must be virtually eliminated by 2050 if the 1.5-degree limit is to be met.

Greens Energy and Resources Jeremy Buckingham said, “Today’s IPCC Special Report is a call to arms — the coming decade is critical in the fight to protect the people we love and our planet from dangerous climate change.

“That’s why the Greens policy is to phase out coal mining in NSW in the next 10 years. The science of this report makes it clear that we cannot continue to burn coal and protect the climate.

“The failure by the Federal Government to have a credible climate or energy policy means that NSW must implement its own climate and energy policies. Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia all have credible climate and energy policies, while NSW has sat on its hands waiting for direction from the Federal Government. Meanwhile, Federal energy policy has descended into chaos and farce.

“The next few years will be history defining. This government and the next can either fiddle while the climate heats beyond our control, or they can transform our community, economy and natural world by phasing out coal and powering our world by 100% renewable energy.

“This transformation will bring with it great opportunities for new jobs and innovative technologies. Australia can transition away from being a quarry and lead the way on renewable innovation, exporting our science, know-how and clean solar power fuel to the world.

“The task of phasing out fossil fuels is now critically urgent. If the world had acted after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the task would be easier, but Labor and Liberals, taking millions from fossil fuel donors, have squibbed it.

“Climate and energy policy will be at the top of the March 2019 state election, including seats where the Greens are challenging the Coalition such as Lismore and Coogee, and the seat of Barwon where the National’s backing of coal seam gas is deeply unpopular.

“The Greens are the only party serious about dealing with the climate emergency in Australia. When will the other parties take steps towards the serious levels of carbon emission cuts we need and admit there is no future for coal or coal seam gas?” he said.

IPCC Special Report on impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees online here:

http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

Greens NSW Greens 10-year plan to phase out coal and protect the climate available here:

https://jeremybuckinghammlc.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/phase-out-coal-policy.pdf

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