Warkworth judgement shows up flaws in coal mine approvals system

Published: April 15, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed this morning's judgement in the NSW Land & Environment Court, which overturns the approval of Rio Tinto's (Coal & Allied's) proposed Warkworth open cut coal mine expansion near Bulga, in the Hunter Valley.

The Warkworth Extension was approved by the NSW O'Farrell Government in February 2012, against the wishes of the adjacent community of Bulga. While NSW law usually prohibits merits-based legal challenges to coal mine approvals, a brief change in the law allowed The Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association to challenge the approval of the mine in the Court.

“This is a huge win for the community of Bulga, which would have been all but wiped off the map by this coal mine,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for Lock the Gate. “This mine would have had major impacts on air quality and people's health. It would have destroyed an extremely rare and endangered ecosystem, home to 17 threatened native animal species.

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Community will protest CSG drilling in north-west NSW forests and farms

Published: April 12, 2013

Lock the Gate Alliance has warned Santos that it can expect massive community backlash against its plans to drill hundreds of coal seam gas wells in Pilliga State Forest in north west NSW.

Santos told an industry conference this week in Sydney that it would push ahead with its coal seam gas drilling plans in the Pilliga but that the company would not be forcing its way into places it is not welcome and that it would seek to have as little impact as possible.

"Coal seam gas development is a high-impact land use. It is not welcome in sensitive environmental areas like the Pilliga forest and it is certainly not welcome on the farming land of the Liverpool Plains region,” said Drew Hutton, President of Lock the Gate Alliance.

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No-go zones can protect the community from coal and gas impacts

Published: April 11, 2013

Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton has warned the NSW Government that without expanded no-go zones the community opposition to coal and coal seam gas expansion will only grow.

Submissions close tomorrow for the NSW Government’s proposed 2km residential exclusion zone for coal seam gas. 

"The residential exclusion zone is a good first step but it ignores the critical community concern when it comes to both coal and coal seam gas development, which is the threat it presents to farmland and water supplies," said Lock the Gate President Drew Hutton. 

“Recent polling shows 75% of NSW oppose coal seam gas on agricultural land. Now is the time to guarantee our food security by preserving these areas through mining no-go zones.

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Lock the Gate Questions Galilee Coal Project SEIS

Published: April 11, 2013

Lock the Gate Alliance has today derided Waratah Coal and Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney for misleading landholders regarding the rail corridor from the Galilee Basin coal mines.

"In June 2012, Jeff Seeney promised the people of Central Queensland that he would approve no more that two rail lines out of the Galilee Basin. Now we see, in their Supplementary EIS, that Waratah coal is throwing good money after bad, planning a rail corridor to Abbot Point that has no support from the Government," said spokesperson for the Alliance, Ellie Smith.

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T4 shelved: welcome news for rural communities

Published: April 10, 2013

Rural community groups along the Hunter coal chain have welcomed today's news that the controversial T4 coal terminal project in Newcastle has been shelved for at least two years, perhaps permanently. 

"The T4 coal terminal project has been a profound threat to our entire region," said Steve Phillips, Hunter co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.

"About 15 large open cut coal mines would be required to supply T4. Throughout the Hunter Valley and Liverpool Plains, agricultural land, water resources, and remnant bushland have been under extreme pressure as the coal industry rapidly expands. With T4 on ice, that pressure is eased, and our region is a little bit safer. This is very welcome news for rural communities along the Hunter coal chain," said Phillips.

John Kaye, from Keep Denman Coal Mine Free, said: "Coal mine proposals are threatening Denman from every direction, and many people in our community have had a gut full. We are already impacted by nearby coal mines, and we don't want any more. The T4 project would facilitate a massive proliferation of coal mining. We are very glad to see it shelved."

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Content on this site is authorised by Georgina Woods for Lock the Gate Alliance, Lismore NSW.