Lock the Gate Alliance has called for a full and independent review of the Maules Creek coal mine and its impact on the surrounding farming community following revelations of systemic mismanagement of the mine by Environmental Justice Australia.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Phil Laird is a landholder at Maules Creek and said, “It’s obvious that the Maules Creek mine should never have been approved. It’s been a diabolical neighbour and has torn my community apart as surely as it has torn the Leard forest and the landscape.
“Whitehaven Coal is a rogue operator. It has broken its commitments to the Maules Creek community about noise, air pollution and biodiversity, but compliance action by the State Government so far has been underwhelming. Meanwhile, this rogue company is trying to get approval for another damaging coal mine, at nearby Vickery.
“They are short changing communities on approval commitments, and putting these funds towards expanding and threatening other districts. This is not acceptable. They shouldn’t even be considered for any further projects until they are 100% compliant at Maules Creek.
“The EPA yesterday released a report showing that there are several actions Whitehaven could and should be taking to reduce dust.
“They’ve been found to be non-compliant three years in a row and have had two penalty notices already this year, but they still haven’t cleaned up their act. It’s time for an independent inquiry.
“Rural communities are being failed by a planning system that lets mining companies get away with ruining health, amenity and landscape and getting off scott free. Maules Creek must be made an example of. We call on the Planning Minister and his Department to show that they take this seriously by launching a full inquiry and stopping this rogue operator.”
Details of non-compliance by Whitehaven Coal and penalty notices issued to them are available from the EPA’s public register.
The EPA’s dust study of Maules Creek mine was released yesterday here: http://epa.nsw.gov.au/epamedia/EPAMedia17080301.htm