The Northern Inland Council for the Environment lodged an application for an interlocutory injunction in the Federal Court of Australia late yesterday, in a bid to prevent Whitehaven Coal from clearing important areas for the construction of the Maules Ck coal mine near Narrabri.
Last week the judicial review case brought by the Council against the Federal Government and Whitehaven Coal in relation to the Maules Ck mine was heard by the Federal Court, but it is not known when a decision will be delivered.
The interlocutory injunction application will be heard on Wednesday morning in the Federal Court in Sydney. It is seeking orders from the Court to prevent construction of the mine destroying nationally significant forests until a decision has been made on the full case.
"Once you bulldoze a forest, you can never get it back again - it's gone forever" said Phil Spark, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment.
"We don't believe that critically endangered ecosystems and wildlife habitats in this area should be destroyed while there is a legal cloud hanging over this open-cut coal mine proposal.
"That's why today we will be asking the court to make an order to prevent clearing of sensitive areas until all legal matters have been resolved and there is a final decision on the full case which was heard last week" he said.
"As a landholder whose family has been farming in this area for 6 generations, we understand the cycles of nature and the fragility of this country" said Phil Laird, President of the Maules Ck Community Council.
"We don't want to see enormous, irreversible damage done to Leard State Forest or surrounding farmland by clearing for an open-cut coal mine, when an important legal decision is pending" he said.