Tag Archives: Planning

Big win for western Sydney with waste incinerator recommended for refusal

MEDIA RELEASE 11 April 2018

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the recommendation by the Department of Planning that the proposed western Sydney waste to energy incinerator be refused was a huge win for the residents of western Sydney and the lungs of all the people in Sydney. He called on the government to back the Greens bill to ban such incinerators within 15km of residential areas to secure clean air into the future.

The Department of planning recommends to the Independent Planning Commission:

“Based on the advice of the EPA, NSW Health and the Independent Experts, the Department’s assessment of the application concludes the proposal is inconsistent with the NSW EPA’s Energy from Waste Policy Statement (2015), the air quality impacts and risk to human health is unknown, the development is not in the public interest and should be refused.

We have now referred our assessment report and recommendation to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for final determination. As part of this process, the IPC will hold a public meeting to give the community further opportunity to raise their concerns.”

“This is a fantastic win for the residents of western Sydney and the Greens, who have been fighting this toxic proposal for years,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The government should now back the Greens Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Waste Incinerator Facilities-Residential Exclusion Zones) Bill 2017 which will ban large waste to energy incinerators within 15 kilometres of residential zonings.

“I’m pleased to see the decision to hold a public meeting rather than a public hearing as part of the Independent Planning Commission’s assessment process, as a public hearing would have extinguished a merits review in the courts.

“Incinerating waste is not green energy. We should be seeking to reduce, reuse and recycle waste rather than create a large incinerator and permanent waste stream to feed its boilers,” he said.

Don’t mess with Gloucester – Rocky Hill mine recommended for rejection

MEDIA RELEASE – 23 October 2017

NSW Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today congratulated the people of Gloucester for fighting off the proposed Rocky Hill coal mine after it was recommended for rejection by the Department of Planning.

The Department of Planning’s report concludes:  The Department does not believe that the impacts of [the mine’s] proximity are able to be dealt with through conditions to the consent, and as a result the Department has not made any recommendations in relation to possible conditions. Having assessed all matters relevant to the amended project as set out in this report, the Department does not consider that the amended project is able to or should be approved, and the Department does not recommend that the Commission approve the development.” [page iii]

“Has the worm finally turned?  Finally some common sense from the Department of Planning on a mine application in NSW!” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The Planning Assessment Commission should now reject this mine and the government should cancel the exploration licence for the area to give the residents of Gloucester some certainty for the future.

“This is fantastic news for the people of Gloucester.  The mine was far too close to residential areas and impacted good agricultural land and would have severely impacted the town and the valley.

“Gloucester should be a hub for tourism, agriculture and lifestyle.  The Greens congratulate the Gloucester Groundswell community group and all the residents who campaigned to preserve the beauty and amenity of their wonderful valley.

“This resilient community has fought off AGL’s proposed 300 coal seam gas wells, and now a coal mine that would have come within a kilometre of the town.  It shows that gaining a social licence to operate should not be dismissed by corporate leaders.

“In an era of climate change we must phase out coal mining.  There should be no new coal mines built in NSW and the government should implement a structured phase out of coal with a transition strategy for those communities and regional economies that are impacted by coal mining.”

Berejiklian guts protections for clean drinking water for Sydney

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 October 2017

NSW Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham warned that the Berejiklian Government was gutting protections for the quality of Sydney’s drinking water with legislation introduced into parliament today ditching the ‘neutral and beneficial’ test for all types of development that are an extension to existing developments in the entire catchment area.  The Sydney Drinking Water Catchment extends from the Snowy Mountains to Lithgow and from Crookwell to the Illawarra.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Sydney’s Drinking Water Catchment) Bill 2011 has two parts.  Schedule 1 validates the development consent for the Springvale coal mine (that the Court of Appeal found was invalid because it polluted the water catchment).  Schedule 2 ditches the test that extensions to existing developments (not just mines) must be either ‘neutral or beneficial’ for water quality in the catchment.

Jeremy Buckingham NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman said:

“The Berejiklian Government is using the confected crisis of Mt Piper power station’s coal supply to sneak through laws that gut protections for the quality of Sydney’s drinking water supply.

“The legislation goes far beyond the issue of the Springvale coal mine and allows any extensions to existing developments in the whole Sydney Drinking Water Catchment to avoid the ‘neutral or beneficial’ test designed to improve the quality of Sydney’s drinking water.

“The Greens agree with the Court of Appeal that the ‘neutral or beneficial’ test should mean that any development in the catchment area should not pollute Sydney’s drinking water.

“The Sydney Drinking Water Catchment is a huge area of NSW, stretching from the Snowy Mountains to the Blue Mountains, from Crookwell to the Illawarra.  This change will apply to all types of existing developments, whether they are a mine, a piggery, an abattoir, a chicken farm, or a housing development.

“A perverse outcome of the legislation is that it will penalise new environmentally sensitive development over older more polluting developments.  New developments will be held to a much higher standard than the extension of existing developments.

“It freezes in time poor levels of pollution control at the expense of Sydney’s drinking water quality. It guts the principle that development in the catchment area should be either neutral or beneficial for water quality.”

Planning Assessment Commission slams Bylong coal mine project

MEDIA RELEASE – 27 July 2017

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham called for the NSW Government to cancel the exploration licence for the proposed KEPCO coal mine in the Bylong Valley after a Planning Assessment Commission Review Report slammed the project for gaps in evidence and high levels of uncertainty, particularly about the potential cumulative impacts on the Bylong valley and the community.

The Planning Assessment Commission Report found:

“that substantial doubt persists about the potential benefits and impacts of the Bylong Coal Project, despite extensive research and peer assessment.  As a result, all aspects of the project will need to be comprehensively and cautiously considered, carefully weighted, and balanced one against another in any decision about the project.”

“As far as PAC reports go, this is an absolute savaging of the Bylong Coal Project and should act as a red light for the NSW Government,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“There is no reason to build a new greenfield coal mine anywhere in NSW.  There is already a hefty surplus of coal on global markets at a time when we should be rapidly phasing out fossil fuels to protect the climate.

“New coal mines have lost their social licence to operate.  We’ve seen the NSW Government recently buy-back the Caroona Coal greenfield project on the Liverpool Plains, and partially buy-back the Shenhua Watermark coal project area nearby.

“The Greens call on the government to recognise this coal project will wreck the Bylong Valley and its community and cancel the exploration licence.

“This PAC report recognises that there are significant areas of high quality agricultural land and precious water resources, as well as important heritage values that will be put at risk by the proposed Bylong Coal Mine.”

Ian Macdonald’s conviction underlines the need for further reform of mining licencing

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 March 2017

NSW Greens resources and energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today that the conviction of Ian Macdonald for criminal misconduct in issuing a coal exploration licence underlined the need for a strong ICAC and further reform in an area that is prone to corruption risks.

“The Greens welcome the prospect of Ian Macdonald spending many a long lonely night in jail with his mate Eddie Obeid,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“ICAC have identified the granting and administration of mining licences as an area that is vulnerable to corruption.  Unfortunately the government has not acted to ensure such corruption does not happen again.

“Donations from mining companies should be banned for similar reasons that donations from property developers are banned.  Both industries can benefit greatly from government decisions and, therefore the perception and risk that political donations may sway decisions makers is very real.

“We also need to implement stricter regulations and cooling off periods to stop the revolving door between government and the resources sector, which calls into question whether ministers, advisors and bureaucrats are working in the public interest or for private interests.

“High profile moves through this door include current head of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee, who used to work for former Premier Mike Baird; former federal resources ministers Martin Ferguson, became chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and a non-executive director of Seven Group Holdings and British Gas Group; and former federal resources minister  Ian Macfarlane is now chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council

“This conviction shows the importance of having a strong and independent ICAC and it is shameful that the NSW Government has worked in recent years to weaken its body and bring it to heel.”

Greens Bill to ban ‘waste to energy’ incinerators within 15km of homes

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 March 2017

The NSW Greens will introduce legislation to the Upper House this morning that would prohibit locating large polluting ‘waste to energy’ incinerators within 15 kilometres of urban zonings, and would effectively kill off a proposal from Mr Ian Malouf’s Dial-A-Dump company to build the world’s largest waste incinerator on his land in Eastern Creek, only 800 metres from homes and a school in Minchinbury and close to homes in Erskine Park, St Clair, Colyton St Mary’s,  Rooty Hill and Penrith, and only 5km from Prospect Reservoir which stores Sydney’s drinking water.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Waste Incinerator Facilities – Residential Exclusion Zones) Bill 2017 will be introduced into parliament this morning by Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Mr Malouf’s has lodged an Environmental Impact Statement with the Department of Planning, but over 1,000 submissions were lodged objecting to the development, including from the Environmental Protection Authority, NSW Health, Minchinbury Public School and Hillsong Church.

  • If approved it would cost $588 million to build the world’s largest garbage incinerator with a capacity to burn 1.34 million tonnes of waste every year to produce 137MW of electricity.
  • Waste to be burnt is estimated to be 18% plastics, 17% paper/card, 4% textiles, 30% wood scraps, 2.5% gyprock, 1% metal, 3 vegetation, 20.3% other combustibles, combustibles, non-combustibles and other’
  • Twin 100 metre exhaust stacks will spew out pollution including fine particulate matter dangerous to human health – PM10 and PM2.5; heavy metals including Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As) and Chromium (Cr); chemical compounds including Hydrogen Chloride (HCI), Hydrogen Fluoride (HF), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NO2); and highly toxic organic substances such as dioxins and furans.

NSW Green energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“We should be improving air quality in Sydney, not creating a giant new source of pollution.

“The Greens will introduce legislation that will prohibit waste to energy incinerators within 15 kilometres of urban zonings to ensure they are not located in inappropriate areas.

“This incinerator will reduce recycling rates, spew out air pollution and impact on the health of residents in Western Sydney.

“With thousands of trucks delivering over a million tonnes of waste to be burnt each year, there is no certainty about what chemicals and particles will come out of the exhaust stacks – which is why the EPA and NSW Health object to this proposal.

“It’s the government’s role to step in and protect the lungs of Western Sydney.  Whether a giant waste incinerator is built only a kilometre from homes and schools is a decision for the government and parliament, and cannot just be left to planning bureaucrats.

“The Greens campaign against this incinerator is building momentum in Western Sydney.  If the Liberal Party does not stop this incinerator they will lose crucial seats in Western Sydney and government.”

NSW Health made a submission objecting to the incinerator saying:

“The proposal to build and operate an incinerator within city limits is not consistent with over 100 years of environmental regulation to improve urban air quality by removing incinerators and power stations and other sources of pollutants from urban areas. We note that this plant is double the size of similar plants overseas and we require assurance that appropriate environmental controls are in place and effective in the long term.”

And

“There are many known health effects from exposure to particulate matter.  Numerous studies have showed associations between exposure to particles and increased hospital admissions as well as death from heart or lung diseases.”

The EPA made a submission objecting to the incinerator saying:

“The EPA particularly has concerns in relation to potential air quality impacts; human health impacts; and alignment with the NSW EPA’s Energy from Waste Policy”
A public meeting will be held on the incinerator proposal at 7 – 8.30pm Thursday 13 April at the Erskine Park Community Hall, 57 Peppertree Drive Erskine Park.

A social media video on the incinerator is available for download here and on YouTube here.

Baird should keep promise and stop Wallarah 2 coal mine

MEDIA RELEASE – 26 July 2016

The Greens NSW  mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on Premier Mike Baird to intervene to stop the Wallarah 2 coal mine project on the Central Coast, after the Korean mining company KORES lodged an amended development proposal that builds a conveyor belt and alters the route of the rail spur to avoid having to reach an agreement with Aboriginal Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

“The Coalition made a solemn promise not to allow the Wallarah 2 coal mine to go ahead.  Former Premier Barry O’Farrell told a crowd that the mine would not go ahead “‘no ifs, no buts, a guarantee’, yet years later the Coalition government has failed to implement this promise,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This coal mine is a risk not only to the water catchment of the Central Coast, but to the credibility of the Liberal Party when it makes commitments to the electorate.   It should fulfil those commitments and reject the mine.

“The Korean Government has announced a restructure of its state owned resource companies that will see them withdraw from international resource projects, so it is unclear why the government should approve a mine plan for a company likely to leave the market.

“There is no need to build this coal mine.  The community are bitterly opposed.  The company doesn’t want to build it, it just wants an approval to sell.  It’s a dud mine, with no future that Mike Baird should knock on the head.

“The proposed coal conveyor belt and coal loading area are unacceptably close to the existing residential neighbourhood of Blue Haven and may impact on plans by the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council for residential development in the area.”

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