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Coal mine climate requirement a great start, but IPC should still say no to Wambo

Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes the Independent Planning Commission’s move to impose conditions on a planned NSW mine that would require the company to ensure countries receiving its coal are participating in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

It is the first time the commission has suggested attaching such conditions to a project.

The Commission is seeking public feedback until Friday on the proposed condition, which would require the owners of the United Wambo coal mine to have an “Export Management Plan” that ensures customer countries buying coal from the mine are parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change or are undertaking the greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

According to the mine’s EIS, the project would be responsible for 265 million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution over its life, of which 259 million tonnes would come from burning the product coal overseas.

All of its proposed customers are signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

LTGA spokesperson Georgina Woods said the move was welcome evidence of the NSW Government’s participation in the Paris Agreement. 

"We welcome the Commission signalling its support for the Paris Agreement as a key framework for the management of new coal mines in NSW,” she said.

“It seems likely that United Wambo will be the first new coal mine project determined in NSW after the landmark Rocky Hill judgement in February. 

"With this proposal the Independent Planning Commission is signalling NSW's participation in the Paris Agreement and global efforts to address climate change and for the first time making that agreement part of the conditions of consent for a NSW coal mine proposal.

"We welcome the Commission's transparency and involvement of the public in its consideration of this important matter and encourage people to take the opportunity to share their views."

Ms Woods said the Alliance remained concerned about the potential impact the United Wambo proposal would have on underground aquifers, threatened ecological communities, and the quality of the Hunter Valley’s air.

“Last year was the worst year on record for air quality since monitoring in the Hunter Valley was established,” she said.

“United Wambo is also going to worsen the drawdown of two productive alluvial aquifers already suffering from the effects of nearby mining. 

“As far as cumulative impacts go, this one is the pits for Hunter Valley communities, water resources and biodiversity.”

Comment can be made via email to the Independent Planning Commission until 5pm Friday.

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