The decision made by the NSW Department of Planning today to deny Whitehaven Coal a special permit to clear for the Maules Creek coal mine during the sensitive spring/early summer period has vindicated community concerns of its environmental impact, Lock the Gate said today.
National coordinator for Lock the Gate Phil Laird said the stop work was a small victory in the long running battle.
“This now means that Whitehaven cannot clear any more forest for the Maules Creek coal mine until mid February 2015,” Mr Laird said.
“The decision shows that the community represented by the EDO NSW, was right in taking court action to prevent Whitehaven from clearing during the highly sensitive spring/early summer months when threatened forest animals are nesting or breeding.
“The Maules Creek mine sits in an area that is critically endangered bushland and the attempt to get a clearing permit during the spring/early summer months was inappropriate and unacceptable.
“It is a pity that it took the community to enforce what should have been a basic safeguard.
“Whitehaven had secretly sought to get the extraordinary clearing permit in order to push ahead with its plans to develop of the largest coal mines this country has ever seen.
“We congratulate the Secretary for planning Carolyn McNally for her decision to put the brakes on this clearing plan and we congratulate Planning Minister Pru Goward for standing up against the might of Whitehaven and enforcing the ban on spring/early summer clearing.”