The Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on the Federal Government to reject Clive Palmer’s ‘China First’ coal project in the Galilee Basin in light of ongoing non-compliance issues with exploration for the project.
The Australian has today reported that the Queensland Government has issued an Environmental Protection Order against Waratah Coal ordering them to rehabilitate 300 exploration holes within their exploration lease.
“We have made inquiries about the Environmental Protection Order and hope the details will be made available for public scrutiny. We understand that if action isn’t taken promptly by Waratah Coal the Government could move to prosecute the company for breaching their general environmental duty”, said Lock the Gate spokesperson, Ellie Smith.
“Greg Hunt and his department are considering this project for approval as we speak. Waratah Coal's failure to manage the simple task of tidying up after their exploration should ring alarm bells for the kind of mess they will leave in the region if they are allowed to build one of the biggest coal mines in the country. Clearly, there are question marks over whether Waratah is a fit operator, and the irreversible damage that coal mining will cause in the Galilee Basin means the stakes are too high to take a risk on this company.”
“300 exploration wells that have been left open and uncased for years are possibly already doing untold damage to local aquifers. The Federal government has responsibility to protect groundwater and they can’t possibly have faith that this company will do everything they can to minimise harm”
Greg Hunt is due to make a decision on the mine the same day that Palmer takes his seat for the first time in federal parliament on the 12th November.
“We’re very concerned that political pressure will trump the concerns of the local landholders. This is the Abbott government’s opportunity to prove that they won’t be pushed around by Palmer. The project is clearly unacceptable. There are many reasons for the minister to reject it”.