The Environment Minister Greg Hunt has released notices confirming the application of the new federal “water trigger” to 27 coal mines and gas projects, but the Lock the Gate Alliance says some of the most damaging projects are still in limbo, and is calling for the Minister to end the anxiety of communities dependent on water resources that are threatened by mining.
Twenty coal mines and coal seam gas projects are yet to have the trigger applied, prompting fears that Minister will back down and fail to apply the law as he promised three weeks ago.
Phil Laird, Lock the Gate Alliance National Campaigner said, “It’s been four months since the new law that is supposed to protect water resources from large coal mines and coal seam gas projects came into force but communities in NSW and Queensland are still waiting to see if the Government will apply it to some of the most controversial and damaging projects.”
‘The Shenhua Watermark project on the NSW Liverpool Plains will drain the groundwater lifeblood of one of the richest farming areas in the country. The China First coal mine in the Galilee Basin, together with other mines in that region, will remove thousands of billions of litres of groundwater. The drinking water catchment of the NSW Central Coast is threatened by the Wallarah 2 coal mine, which has already been rejected by the NSW government once, but is back to try again.
“Three weeks ago, Greg Hunt said all of these projects ‘will require Federal environmental assessment of their impacts on water resources’ but there seems to be a question over whether the proponents of these projects have lobbied to reverse this decision, and the affected communities are very anxious about it.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s a matter of priorities: water is our most precious resource and is the lifeblood of our communities. We’re calling on the Minister to put people first and use the law to stop these projects going ahead.