Lock the Gate Alliance has described the changes to Federal environment laws announced by Minister Tony Burke this morning as a step forward on a long road to genuine law reform to control inappropriate coal and gas mining across Australia.
Last week, the Alliance launched a national reform agenda, 'Call to Country', which included 8 actions that the Federal Government can take to protect communities and the environment from inappropriate mining. The inclusion of a water trigger was a minor component of that plan.
"This reform today is a step forward on a long road to genuine reform of coal and gas mining laws in Australia. It has only been achieved because of the determination of people all around Australia to protect our priceless water resources," said Carmel Flint, Campaign Co-ordinator for Lock the Gate Alliance.
"We congratulate all the members of parliament who have taken heed of the extraordinary and far-reaching community concern on this issue.Read more
A Federal Government independent panel has slammed a multi-billion dollar coal seam gas proposal in Queensland.
The Independent Scientific Expert Committee (IESC), set up by the Federal Government to advise on the water impacts of resource projects, has delivered a stinging critique of the Arrow coal seam gas project in Queensland.
Arrow is owned jointly by Shell and PetroChina.
Some of the key conclusions reached by the Committee in its advice on the draft Arrow Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were that:Read more
Documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal extraordinary opposition to coal seam gas in rural NSW which is impeding the industry, and should send a warning signal to investors everywhere, according to Lock The Gate Alliance.
The documents include draft instruments of renewal for controversial coal seam gas exploration licences, and correspondence between gas companies and governments on those renewals.
The documents show that the NSW Government plans to renew most licences across 100% of the original area, waiving a mandatory requirement that licences are reduced by 25% on renewal.
The departmental unit considering renewals, Petroleum Geoscience, is on the record in the documents admitting the impediments to the industry are substantial. For example, it states that:Read more
The Lock the Gate Alliance launched its federal election campaign today by taking demands for national law reform on coal and gas mining to federal parliamentarians across Australia.
The 'Call to Country' incorporates a passionate plea for protecting Australians and the environment from the current onslaught of irresponsible mining as well as a program of legislative reform to address this issue.
Its demands challenge the often-stated assertion by both Labor and Coalition parties that the Federal Government has very limited control over the regulation of coal and coal seam gas.
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said many Australians did not appreciate the immensity of the scale of mining tenements in Australia.
"Our new mapping, released today, reveals that an estimated 437 million hectares of our land is covered by coal and gas licences or applications - that is more than half of Australia and an area 18 times the size of Great Britain," Mr Hutton said.Read more
The Lock The Gate Alliance has welcomed moves by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to review the Mt Penny open cut coal mine proposal, and called on him to block it and the other three coal mine projects shrouded by corruption.
Premier Barry O'Farrell announced this evening that his government would be asking Cascade Coal to resubmit a development application for the Mt Penny Coal Project to the Department of Planning, and that corruption findings from ICAC would be assessed in a “public interest test” of the project. The move opens the door for the O'Farrell government to kill off the project.
However, in addition to the Cascade Coal mining proposal at Mt Penny, ICAC is probing the Yarrawa Coal project by Loyal Coal (formerly Monaro Coal), the Doyles Creek project by NuCoal Resources, and the Glendon Brook project, also by Cascade Coal. Two of the projects, Yarrawa and Glendon Brook, are in advanced exploration stages, while the others – Mt Penny in the Bylong Valley and Doyles Creek at Jerrys Plains – have mine development plans awaiting State and Federal Government approval.
“These four coal mine projects stand to have calamitous impacts on people and the environment, if they are approved. They have been forced onto unsuspecting and unwilling local communities through a dodgy process that is now the subject of one of the most far-reaching investigations in ICAC history,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for the Lock The Gate Alliance.Read more