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Minister Stokes moves to blindfold impact of climate change from coal mines

Lock the Gate Alliance says “downstream emissions” legislation introduced by Planning Minister Rob Stokes in NSW parliament today is a reckless clutch at a blindfold that can’t erase the effects of climate change. 

The legislation, if passed, would erase the long-standing requirement for authorities to take into account the contribution new coal mines and gasfields would make to climate change.

The new Bill was introduced today but will not be debated until the next sitting day of parliament on 12 November. 

It would remove part of a clause in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum and Extractive Industries) 2007 that has been in place for 12 years and clarifies that consideration of greenhouse emissions in the determination of mining projects includes downstream emissions.

The move comes after heavy pressure, including a print, radio and TV ad campaign, by the NSW Minerals Council urging the Government to change the law. 

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “The Minister wants to blindfold the Independent Planning Commission and pretend that because most of New South Wales’ coal is burned somewhere else the effect of that greenhouse pollution is not relevant and won’t affect New South Wales people, cities and industries.

“Given that the burning of coal in power stations is one of the primary causes of global heating world-wide and in Australia, it is extraordinary that the Minister is going to erase the consideration of that impact during assessment of coal mining projects.

“You can’t erase the impacts of climate change by blinding yourself to its causes. The only way we are going to deal with the climate crisis is by being honest about what role we’re playing in it, and the effect it is having and will have on the water, weather and liveability of our state.

“Minister Stokes should not be taking advice from the NSW Minerals Council about climate change planning policy.  

“He should be consulting with regional communities that are already suffering record heat, drought and fire. He should be consulting with climate scientists. 

“He should be consulting with the people who live and work in coal mining communities who need a plan for diversifying and adapting to changes in the way the world uses and makes energy.”

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